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IBM layoffs

01/27/09 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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Beginning this morning, employees at IBM in Essex Junction began receiving notice of layoffs at the plant. IBM hasn't released the total number of layoffs yet, but says fewer than 500 of the plant's 5,300 workers will be let go.

On today's Vermont Edition, we'll get a full update on today's layoffs. Paul Castrucci, a former plant manager at IBM, explains what divisions of the global corporation operate at Essex Junction and they in particular are targeted for layoffs. And Frank Cioffi, president of Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, draws the connections between IBM's operations in Essex Junction and the impact those workers have on the rest of Vermont's economy. (Listen)

VPR reporter joins Host Jane Lindholm to discuss the layoffs. (Listen)

Earl Mongeon   is the vice-president for Alliance at IBM, an IBM employee organization that is not officially supported by the company. He has worked at the Essex Junction plant for thirty-plus years. He works the night-shift and was at work early this morning when layoffs began. He speaks with VPR's Jane Lindholm about the situation.  (Listen)

Email us your story:
If you've been affected by today's IBM layoffs, or past cuts at the plant, email us your thoughts to vermontedition@vpr.net


Emails from listeners:

Tiki in Burlington-

I am sorry to hear about the layoffs. It is my hope that Vermont's workforce economy will become more diverse instead of putting so much weight on one employer. Perhaps the Industrial Organization that was once so active in recruiting businesses can put their money where their mouth is.

Will in Lincoln-

I met a fellow Lincoln Vermont resident on the way in to work this morning who lost his job.   I still have my job but I wonder why IBM stays in Vermont. To have IBM's government rep,  Mr O'Kane disrespected in the State House by a major Senate Leader, to have Circ Part B langish on the drawing board for 20 years, and to have state leaders call to cut off IBM's electricity with out offering a cost effective replacement  it really seems like the state does not appreciate IBM as a presence in the state.  The day may well come when the folks in Armonk say enough is enough.  That will be a bleak day for every one in Vermont. 

Tara in Greensboro-

I'm writing because my father worked for IBM for over 30 years before he was laid off on August 18, 2003 along with 500 other employees.  When he was hired in the 1970's IBM was the kind of company that prided itself in looking after its employees and their families and it was a dream job because of it's security.  They offered pensions and retirement plans, showing a commitment to the people even after they left the fold.  Now it seems in Vermont that the large company is certainly no longer safe and that smaller may indicate safer in terms of survival and security.
Our family was crushed by the weight of my dad's layoff.  Not only was he depressed, which led to him smoking again (and suffering a mild heart attack) but here he was almost at the age of retirement, looking for new employment.  And this was /before /the recession.  Not many companies seemed to be looking to hire someone in their late 50's.  The stress and the sense of abandonment seemed to penetrate every aspect of his life.  Kudos to my mom for helping him get through that ugly period.

I'm happy to say that after a year of taking temporary employment where he could, he was able to find a full time job in VT doing similar work to what he had been doing for IBM, but he did take a pay cut and was forced to tap into his retirement savings before retirement.  He and some of his friends that were laid off at the same time formed a group they affectionately call the 'orphan's club'.  They still meet for dinners every other month to stay in touch and keep each other's spirits up.

My dad just received word that his three closest friends still at IBM thankfully survived today's layoffs.  I just wanted to say my heart goes out to all the families affected by today's devastating news. 

Email from Anthony-

As someone who was let go in a previous IBM workforce reduction, I'd like to send reassurance to people who were affected today. When I was terminated (these are not layoffs) I recall feeling some fear and uncertainty. For the most part however I knew deep down that I was terribly unhappy at IBM and that my life would change for the better.  

I started my own small business. My experience has been very positive. I no longer feel the crushing pressure of a career with little satisfaction and the constant threat of being fired. Although I don't know what tomorrow will bring, after all no job or business is guaranteed, my business has been successful.   To my fellow former IBMrs, take heart. You have many talents or you would not have been hired by the company in the first place.

Take some time to relax and de-compress. Think about what you want your life to be. You may experience changes in finances but money will come to take care of you and your family's needs. Think about the way you have been living and make positive changes. This is a great opportunity for you if you view it as such. It will work out.  

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