Almost immediately after a high-tech company in Essex Junction is bought out, dozens of its employees learn that they’ll be losing their jobs in early January. Until several days ago, that company was known as Avera Semiconductor. It’s located at the former IBM Microelectronics plant that GlobalFoundries bought four years ago.
Last fall, GlobalFoundries spun Avera off into a subsidiary company that it continued to own. However, GlobalFoundries agreed six months ago to sell Avera to California-based Marvell Semiconductor for about $600 million.
The sale closed on Tuesday. On that same day, Marvell sent the Vermont Department of Labor and Essex Junction’s village manager a letter. It reads that 78 former Avera employees will lose their jobs on January 6, more than half of them engineers. The letter arrived on Wednesday.
“We will use this time, the next four to six weeks or so, to work with the company to identify times and ways that we can outreach to each of the staff that are impacted,” Vermont Department of Labor Acting Commissioner Michael Harrington said.
Ideally, Harrington said, the Labor Department would set up on-site meetings called ‘rapid response sessions’ with the affected workers. “We go over the various services that are available for the staff through our Workforce Development Program, and we also talk about what potential benefits they might be eligible for through the Unemployment Insurance Compensation Program,” he added.
Harrington said the primary objective is to make sure the affected workers feel little to no impact from lost wages. “The sooner we do outreach to them, the more likely it is that we can get them re-employed,” he said.
In a brief email to us, unidentified Marvell Semiconductor officials said in part: “In joining the two companies, a number of functions between the Marvell and Avera teams were identified as redundant and have resulted in the elimination of a small percentage of positions worldwide. We look forward to the full integration of the Avera team globally and the future growth of our new Custom ASIC business.” The email didn’t mention what kind of severance package the dozens of people the company is laying off may be getting.