The agreement between IBM and the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering calling on the company to retain 3,100 jobs in New York through 2016 was signed last June.
But Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not announce the deal until Feb. 24, just days before IBM announced sweeping layoffs companywide. The job cuts were widely rumored to be in the works and were expected to hit IBM’s facilities in the Hudson Valley, but never materialized following Cuomo’s announcement.
“It is extremely odd that it was inked in June but announced in February,” said Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, R-Fishkill, whose district includes residents employed at IBM’s facilities in Dutchess County. “That is very strange to me.”
The agreement requires IBM to retain 2,350 jobs in the Capital Region, East Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Yorktown Heights and Utica, along with a net increase of 750 jobs.
The job commitments from IBM were tied to a $55 million state investment announced the same day between IBM and the state for the company to add 500 jobs in Buffalo at the Buffalo IT Innovation and Commercialization Hub. That agreement was signed in September and IBM so far is the only tenant at the hub.
"The job agreement was contingent on the nano deal in Buffalo," said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi in an email. "The Buffalo agreement was signed in September, but had to be approved by IBM's board. The announcement was made when the deal was final."
The document, which was recently made available on the nanocollege’s website, was actually an amendment to a 2011 agreement between the nanocollege and IBM.
The agreement states, “IBM will agree to employ, or have partners or contractors employ, at least 750 employees in semiconductor and related high-tech jobs, in addition to the 2,350 under the 2011 agreement.”
The documents were posted on the college’s website following a push by Lalor for more information from the governor’s office about the deal between IBM and the nanocollege.
“The secrecy behind the IBM deal has scared a lot of people in my district,” Lalor said. “IBM has about 7,000 employees in Dutchess County. Cuomo’s office says the deal will maintain 3,100 jobs. The governor has been silent about the other 3,900 jobs.”
Cuomo’s office has had no comment on the matter beyond the terms of the agreement.
The 2011 agreement was a deal built off IBM’s 2008 agreement with the nanocollege, which called on the company to boost its payroll from 1,400 to 2,350 at its locations in the Albany area as well as East Fishkill, Poughkeepsie and Yorktown Heights.
The document from the 2011 deal states, “IBM will agree to employ, or have partners or contractors employ, at least 950 employees in semiconductor and related high-tech jobs, in addition to the 1,400 under the 2008 agreement.”