With the state on what he calls “heightened alert” over the future of IBM’s chip manufacturing plant in Essex Junction, Gov. Peter Shumlin today said he’s prepared to “do whatever it takes” in the fight to preserve the more than 4,000 jobs at stake.
Shumlin’s comments came in advance of a press conference scheduled for later Monday in which the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation is set to unveil a slate of interventions it thinks will help secure the future of the plant.
“What I can say is my job is to make sure that we do everything in our power and remain nimble as a state … to ensure that the over 4,000 hardworking incredibly qualified employees of IBM, if a transition happens in ownership … they can continue to have great jobs right here in Vermont,” Shumlin said in Montpelier Monday morning.
According to numerous press accounts, IBM is nearing a deal for the sale of plants in Essex Junction and elsewhere with Globalfoundries, Inc.
Shumlin said his administration helped develop the array of enticements GBIC will say is needed to keep the Essex Junction plant operating in the event of a sale.
“We’re working together with GBIC … to remain nimble and make sure that we have the capability to respond to whatever events arise to come out with the best outcome for Vermont,” Shumlin said.
Shumlin said he won’t institute everything the GBIC will be asking for today, however he said “we’ll certainly be deploying good chunks of it.”
Shumlin said his administration has already secured a $4.5 million “enterprise fund” that could be used as financial inducement to convince whatever entity purchases the plant to keep it operating here. He said his administration also helped broker a power deal that will stabilize electricity rates at the plant.
For more details on the GBIC plan, see this story from that news conference.