100+ Layoffs at IBM in Essex

Published 02/27 2014 06:27PM

Updated 02/27 2014 06:43PM

More layoffs came to the IBM plant in Essex Thursday. The number of employees let go isn’t clear yet but it’s expected to be more than 100.

Earl Mongeon works the overnight at IBM. He says after his shift ended the layoffs began.

“First shifters said the cuts were already started,” Mongeon said.

Mongeon is also the VP of Alliance@IBM, an employee union. That group is predicting 150 employees were laid off Thursday.

“A lot of people are in turmoil you know there's a lot of bad morale going on,” Mongeon said.

IBM declined comment on how many employees were laid off and what positions they held.

Mongeon says those people will receive severance packages.

Governor Peter Shumlin issued a statement saying he's talked with leaders at the Essex plant. In it he says there will likely be a third of the amount of the layoffs from last summer. That number was 419.

In a statement IBM said it “continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients, and to pioneer new, high value segments of the IT industry.”

The statement continued, “IBM is positioning itself to lead in areas such as Cloud, Analytics and Cognitive Computing and investing in these priority areas.”

Microchip manufacturing is the main business at the Essex plant.

“Sophisticated manufacturing jobs, consulting jobs, engineering jobs those are the gold standard. Every community covets those types of jobs,” Essex Junction Village President George Tyler said.

Tyler says when those jobs are cut it take s a toll on the tax base. But he adds, any layoffs at the Essex plant are no longer surprising.

“We certainly have seen the writing on the wall,” Tyler said.

“On the other hand if there's anything we can do to facilitate or help make this sustainable we certainly would be there and be willing to have that conversation with them.”

Essex Junction has already eliminated taxes on IBM equipment that used to make up half of the village's revenue.

But Mongeon doesn't think any amount of help will keep IBM from laying off more workers.

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