Saratoga County

Few details on GlobalFoundries cutbacks

Computer chip maker targets 5 percent worldwide
Global Foundries in Malta is pictured
Global Foundries in Malta is pictured

MALTA — GlobalFoundries is trimming its workforce, but not saying how many, if any, employees are being cut locally.

Regional media reported on the cuts this week, but the company did not respond to calls and emails from The Daily Gazette seeking comment for this story. Other media reporting on the cutbacks also received no comment, or got general comment without specifics.

The company’s recently promoted CEO, Thomas Caulfield, the former general manager of Fab 8 in Malta, began a 5 percent reduction of GlobalFoundries 18,000-strong worldwide workforce earlier this month, trade publications reported.

Cutbacks apparently included the former IBM facilities that GlobalFoundries took over in Dutchess County, New York, and Essex Junction, Vermont.  A GlobalFoundries spokesman told a newspaper that jobs in both locations were being cut, including his own. 

About 3,300 people work at Fab 8 in Malta. Five percent of that would equal 165 people, but GlobalFoundries wasn’t discussing it.

Employers are supposed to notify state labor officials when laying off a large number of people, under certain circumstances, but the New York Department of Labor said Friday no such notice by GlobalFoundries was on file.

Meanwhile, GlobalFoundries’ website is advertising dozens of job openings at all three facilities, some of them posted as recently as Thursday and Friday.

Malta Town Supervisor Vince DeLucia said he too had been told nothing about job cuts at Fab 8 in his town. But the help-wanted postings suggested to him that the job reductions are targeted, not a simple wholesale reduction that hits all facilities worldwide equally.

Either way, 5 percent is not a huge number, he said.

GlobalFoundries has been parsimonious with details about previous rounds of job cuts, as well.

October 2015 layoffs in Malta were quantified only as “relatively small,” for example, and were imposed only after too few workers accepted voluntary severance.

May 2017 job cuts were quantified as a “few dozen” in Dutchess County, “fewer than a dozen” in Vermont, and none at all in Malta, where other cost-cutting measures had produced enough savings that layoffs were not necessary.

A 3 percent worldwide cutback in December 2013 resulted in about 30 layoffs in Malta.

This week’s job cuts come little more than a month after officials of Mubadala Investment Company, owner of GlobalFoundries, came to America to make the case for state and federal assistance for expansion of its facilities.

Mubadala Investment Company is a $200 billion investment fund wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. Its CEO, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, toured Fab 8 on May 7 and hosted a luncheon for area leaders before heading to Washington to build support at the federal level.

GlobalFoundries’ corporate predecessor, AMD, received $1.37 billion in state subsidies plus millions more in tax breaks and infrastructure upgrades for what was supposed to be a $4.2 billion facility employing 1,465 people. That equals about $1 million per promised job, a remarkable sum that officials justified for its expected impact on the region’s economy and technology sector.

Its workforce is now more than double that initial commitment and the investment is more than triple.

But the greater impact has been on the surrounding region, DeLucia said.

“I think it’s been great for the area,” he said. “We’ve benefited from GlobalFoundries being where they are.”

Categories: Business, News, Schenectady County

Leave a Reply