When GlobalFoundries warns of impending job cuts, employees express frustration

By the end of September, things were looking up for GlobalFoundries, as the company ended the quarter with revenue up 22% year over year. In October, the company received more good news. At a press conference outside its massive Essex Junction plant, attended by US Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt announced $30 million in federal funding to develop advanced chips. Ten days later, it receive state recognition start your own public utility company to save on electricity bills.

Then, less than two weeks ago, a sudden collapse in market forces led the global company to announce to its roughly 14,000 employees that layoffs were planned.

Market volatility and GlobalFoundries’ unexpected announcement have employees at the Vermont chipmaker wondering if their jobs are at stake. The uncertainty comes as rising interest rates appear to be affecting the labor market. Last week, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a slight increase in Vermont’s unemployment rate in October, from 2.1% to 2.3%. It was the first increase since January 2021.

GlobalFoundries Chief Executive Officer Thomas Caulfield said in a video distributed to employees on Nov. 11 that the company will come up with a more complete and comprehensive plan at a company-wide online meeting later this month. Two employees have informed VTDigger that the meeting is scheduled for December 1st.

Employees received the video just days after Caulfield touted the company’s outstanding third-quarter performance in a conversation with Wall Street analysts. In that call, he also warned that the company must start cutting costs as demand for semiconductors slows.

The mixed messages were not lost on the company’s workers in Vermont.

“My colleagues and I are frustrated and upset that the company has been boasting profits for the past two years and has had to shed jobs at the first downturn,” said an employee at the Essex Junction plant.

This employee and another spoke to VTDigger on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution for speaking about their employer.

“Can’t any of these massive gains be used as a fallback to keep knowledgeable employees on the payroll?” asked the first employee. “It seems like an incredibly short-sighted decision and feels insulting after so much big bucks talk.”

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