Saratoga County

Unions near deal on chip plant

Computer chip marker GlobalFoundries and state construction labor unions are on the verge of an agre

Computer chip marker GlobalFoundries and state construction labor unions are on the verge of an agreement that should allow work on the new $4.2 billion chip factory to start within weeks — with organized labor’s blessing.

“We’re very close to a final labor agreement, but it is not complete yet,” GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said Tuesday.

Once work starts, the computer chip plant is projected to create about 1,500 construction jobs and two to three years of work, in addition to 1,465 permanent jobs in the future.

GlobalFoundries officials want to reach the construction labor deal, called a project labor agreement, before closing on their previously negotiated purchase of 223 acres at the Luther Forest Technology Campus. They had originally hoped to close on the land around April 1 but postponed the closing pending the labor agreement.

A project labor agreement governs wages and working conditions on a construction site for both union and non-union labor and is generally negotiated with union leaders. Details of the draft project labor agreement weren’t available.

Citing $1.2 billion in public incentives being given to GlobalFoundries, local political leaders have also urged that local companies be hired for parts of the construction job, which is expected to be coordinated by international high-tech specialists M+W Zander. Local union leaders have said they have the trained work force available.

GlobalFoundries officials had indicated in recent weeks that progress was being made in the negotiations, which also involved state officials in Albany.

“We should have all the necessary signatures in place soon,” Bullard said Tuesday. “Once it is complete, there will be an official announcement with more info.”

Representatives of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council could not be reached for comment.

Officials close to the situation have said the land purchase is ready to go once the labor issues are resolved, and site clearing is expected to begin a day or two after the closing.

GlobalFoundries, the manufacturing company spun off by Advanced Micro Devices in March, will make chips for AMD and potentially for other customers. It plans to have the factory in production by 2012.

The company has until July 30 to submit a final commitment letter to the state, qualifying it for an up-front cash incentive payment from the state of $650 million, plus about $550 million in tax credits and other future economic development assistance.

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