California-based chipmaker Marvell alerted the Vermont Department of Labor to the Essex Junction job cuts in what's known as a "warn notice" letter. The cuts are effective in early January.
The news comes two days after Marvell completed its $600 million purchase of Avera Semiconductor, which GlobalFoundries spun off in October 2018 as an 800 employee subsidiary with workers in Vermont, New York and overseas.
Seven Daysreported on Wednesday that people were losing their jobs. But the number of workers laid off wasn’t known until Thursday, when the labor department received Marvell's notice of the coming cuts. Companies are required to give the state a 45-day heads-up if they plan to lay off more than 50 people.
Michael Harrington, acting commissioner of the labor department, said Gov. Phil Scott was made aware of the impending acquisition on Monday and “reached out and had direct conversations with Marvell.” The labor department learned of the deal Tuesday. Rumors of layoffs began swirling immediately.
At his weekly press conference Thursday, Scott told reporters that someone he's known for 40 years, who worked at IBM before GlobalFoundries bought it, was among those laid off by Marvell. The governor said the state's goal is to keep affected workers in Vermont.
Harrington said the labor department will begin a “rapid response” process for the laid-off workers.
“It typically includes an on-site orientation session where we’ll talk with individuals about various services through the Department of Labor, either to help with reemployment or to support them through this unemployment period by explaining what types of unemployment insurance benefits there are,” Harrington said. “In this case, there’s a little bit of a runway between now and when these layoffs occur, so that’s certainly much easier for us to work with.”
In an emailed statement, Marvell said that "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."
Harrington said that it’s not uncommon for layoffs after an acquisition as the company tries to “rightsize” itself by shedding duplicative positions. But he said a layoff of any size is “always a concern.”
“Our ultimate goal has to be to make sure these people are able to be reemployed somewhere else within this period of time so they’re not needing to go on public assistance because they’ve been able to find gainful employment somewhere else,” Harrington said. “That’s priority number one.”