More Intel Layoffs In New Mexico

KOB reported that 215 or 11% of the Rio Rancho plant would be laid off bringing the total workforce to under 1700. With voluntary separation and forced retirements that number will probably be significantly less.

It was interesting to watch the local media reports expecting that this time, the Rio Rancho F11X site would close down. Later it was revealed that the site will not be “on the chopping block“. There has never been any comment from Intel on the situation but I can’t imagine the Intel site management is enjoying the speculation.

KOB reported that 215 or 11% of the Rio Rancho plant would be laid off bringing the total workforce to under 1700. With voluntary separation and forced retirements that number will probably be significantly less.

The the continued shrinking of the workforce and lack of upgrades at the site is not helping with the speculation, not to mention not a single word of communication from Intel on the future of the Rio Rancho site. I would not be surprised if the current IRB will run out at the same time the Rio Rancho workforce hits zero.

Anecdotally, people still working there have been telling me how more equipment is being moved out than in. That there is still work to be done and there aren’t enough people to cover it, in particular engineers. I still hear about the “suits” that tour the factory every once in a while as if they are showing it off to be sold.

What has been the response from Governor Martinez about the Intel news? On the day of the Intel announcement she was talking about DWIs. Probably, Intel had already briefed New Mexico leadership that the Rio Rancho site would not be shutting down which I’m pretty sure resulted collective sigh… not this time. It doesn’t seem like the Governor cares at all about the New Mexico economy, unless it can somehow help her move on to the next thing.

Edit: I forgot to mention the convenient timing of the $15,000 that Intel donated to the Food Recovery In Excellent New Directions program. $15k is like petty cash to Intel, who no doubt was looking for something to give them a positive spin.

Closing The Intel Rio Rancho Site Looks More Likely Ever Day

In the March 25th issue of the Albuquerque Free Press (It’s a PDF download, not a online article) they suggest Intel will leave NM after 2015.

The poor relationship between intel management and state government doesn’t help things. I found this part particularly interesting.

Daymon Ely, a former Sandoval County Commis- sion chairman, said that Intel officials gave him the impression that they never really liked New Mexico.
“For whatever reason, their employees did not like coming to New Mexico. It was not a desirable place because it didn’t have a lot of the big-city stuff like Phoenix had, or places in California,” Ely said.
That was made clear, Ely said, when Intel officials flatly told him they weren’t interested in exploring other sites in Rio Rancho to quell the criticisms com- ing from Corrales. The Chandler plant, which opened the same year as the Rio Rancho facility, has faced nothing like the criticism Intel endured here, several economic-development officials told ABQ Free Press.
And then there are simply the intangibles, the signs of dysfunction that builds as a relationship goes sour.
Tommy Hughes, a former Sandoval County bond attorney who negotiated industrial revenue bond deals between the county and Intel, just doesn’t like Intel executives.
“When somebody from Intel’s mouth is moving, they are usually lying,” Hughes said. He cited negotiations in 1995 when Intel said it would provide Rio Rancho with a high school.

Overal Intel as a company is not doing well (the Oregonian Intel trims manufacturing group with buyouts amid technological and business transformation). While I didn’t initially think Intel would actually close the Rio Rancho site, I now think it’s only a matter of time.

I haven’t worked there in over a year now. I don’t miss it. I have many friends still working there and they say that the working conditions are bad and moral is at a all time low. 

Fab11x is still producing product, just older product on older equipment. With the layoffs and voluntary separation packages the size of the workforce continues to shrink and everyone is having to do more work with less.

More Bad News For The Intel New Mexico Site

Nothing To See Here - Baghdad Bob
Nothing To See Here – Baghdad Bob

From the Albuquerque Journal “Intel RR loses next-generation investment

Intel Corp.’s plant in Rio Rancho has been passed over again for next-generation nanometer chip technology, but the plant is still an integral part of the company’s global production chain, New Mexico site manager Kirby Jefferson told the Albuquerque Economic Forum on Wednesday morning.

“This site was not selected for the 10 nanometer chips, that’s for certain,” Kirby said. “They will do it at other facilities. Seven nanometer is the next one, and we still don’t know where that will be.”

This is the third time New Mexico has been passed over for next-generation chip technology. The Rio Rancho site currently produces 32-nanometer chips, following a $2.5 billion investment in 2009 to upgrade the plant from 45-nanometer technology.

Now, being three cycles behind the curve makes it more difficult to compete for next-generation chips.

“The investment would have to be extremely high here, because we’re so far behind,” Kirby said.

The New Mexico Intel site hasn’t had the latest upgrades in 3 generations and the longer it goes without getting those upgrades the harder it is to get future upgrades. It seems to spell doom for the Intel New Mexico site.

“The New Mexico plant is front and center with what’s going on at Intel,” he said. “Intel is committed to this community. The thinking all the way up the chain is to keep this operation going.”

Call me skeptical. If I was a highly skilled worker at this site I would certainly see doom and gloom and I would be shopping my skills elsewhere, further adding to the decline of the site. If I recall correctly, when Intel was producing the Sandy Bridge processor the Intel New Mexico site was supposedly providing the majority of income to the whole Intel corporation buy producing the majority of those chips while the other sites were ramping up Haswell.

It feels as if the Intel management has kick the Intel New Mexico site to the curb.

Intel Is Spending 6 Billion In Israel, Nothing In New Mexico

There’s been rumor upon rumor that Intel will eventually shut down the Intel site in New Mexico. Its just a rumor but news from Reutes doesn’t help ”
Intel submits plan for nearly $6 bln Israel chip plant upgrade

Chip giant Intel Corp submitted a plan to Israel’s government to invest 20 billion shekels ($5.8 billion) in upgrading its plant in southern Israel, the Economy Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said it promised Intel it would work to expedite bureaucratic procedures as much as possible to develop and promote employment in the country’s south.

As part of the investment, Intel would receive a government grant that Israeli media estimated at about 1 billion shekels.

The 1 billion shekels (or 289 million dollars) probably helps. Also note that Intel built the a brand new fab 42 factory in Arizona and it’s apparently going to stay empty for the time being.

Trade Adjustment Assistance Available For Laid Off New Mexico Intel Workers

TAA was approved for laid off Intel Rio Rancho, New Mexico employees on March 7th. Details can be viewed from the TAA website (use the Search for Trade Adjustment Assistance Cases webisite, type “Intel Corp” in the Search For Company Name box and look for TAW number 85006).

According to Wikipedia Trade Adjustment Assistance is:

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program of the United States government to act as a way to reduce the damaging impact of imports felt by certain sectors of the U.S. economy. The current structure features four components of Trade Adjustment Assistance: for Workers, Firms, Farmers, and Communities. Each Cabinet level Department was tasked with a different sector of the overall Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The program for workers is the largest, and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program for Farmers is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Firms and Communities programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

TAA was designed to help workers who lost their job due to foreign competition find jobs in new industry with job training. In my case that is exactly what I’m doing, learning new skills in a new industry. I’m hopeful that TAA will help assist me. However some of the better benefits of TAA including lost wage assistance and help paying for heath insurance expired at the end of 2013. I’m not sure exactly what benefits will be available but it appears it will be limited to paying for school.

Also according the the Wikipedia article it does not look like TAA has been very effective and won’t be renewed in 2015. Hopefully it will be replaced with a more effective program.

I contacted the TAA representative in the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and was informed that the state is working out the details with the federal government. I should be receiving a letter in the mail sometime in the future which will explain what I need to do next. I was not given any indication of when that letter will arrive.

Intel To Cut About 5000 Jobs Company Wide

From reuters “Intel to reduce global workforce by five percent in 2014

Intel Corp plans to reduce its global workforce of 107,000 by about 5 percent this year as the chipmaker, struggling with falling personal-computer sales, shifts focus to faster-growing areas, a company spokesman said on Friday.

The announcement, equivalent to over 5,000 positions, comes a day after Intel posted a fourth-quarter earnings report that did little to dispel concerns about a slowing PC industry.

“This is part of aligning our human resources to meet business needs,” spokesman Chris Kraeuter told Reuters on Friday.

The job reductions may include early retirement, attrition and other options, Kraeuter added. He declined to say whether details of the changes had been announced internally.

I predict more layoffs and not just in New Mexico and it sounds like they will be in the first quarter of 2014.

In its report on Thursday, Intel forecast March-quarter restructuring charges of $200 million, a portion of which could be earmarked for severance pay.

I Was Laid Off From Intel

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On 11/12/13 I reported to a conference room on the 3rd floor of the RR5 building at the Intel Rio Rancho, New Mexico site. All technicians were to report at their designated time to find out their employment status. My manager stated he had to read from the script and the only part I remember from that script was that “my skills were found to be less than my peers”, or something to that effect. I was notified by my manager that I was “redeployed”, Intel’s term for people that are being laid off. I was told that I would still be employed until 1/15/2014 but that I did not need to come in unless I wanted to.

Intel had announced a few months before that this layoff was going to happen. While I had been mentally preparing myself for it and thinking about what would happen if I did get laid off I wasn’t really expecting to be let go. I had talked to my manger the day before and he didn’t indicate that he was expecting me to be let go. Of course he wouldn’t have any way to know for sure. He wasn’t involved in the decision making process other than to fill out a “skills matrix” of some kind on me. I don’t have any reason to believe that he wrote something like “this guy has no skillz!”. In fact my performance review for the previous year was quite good and my manager was discussing a promotion for me in the next year or two. He was also encouraging me to go to school to finish my degree. Things seemed pretty positive from my point of view.

If I was missing some sort of skills or I was supposed to know something, at least as far as my manger and I was concerned, I think I would have known. This layoff wasn’t supposed to have anything to do with performance anyway. It was supposed to be all skills based. It’s mystery to my exactly what caused me to be on HR’s shit list, but I’m not believing that this layoff was completely skills based.

Intel did a number of things to make this process go easy on the employees. I effectively got a 2 month paid vacation, they waited until the beginning of the year before I was terminated allowing me to get bonuses and other benefits and I get a severance. They could have given no notice and just terminated my employment immediately.

I have moved on and accepted what has happen. It wasn’t easy especially with 18 years at Intel, it hurt. Feelings of rejection and “why me” had a much bigger impact on me than I expected and its hard not to hold a little resentment over how it all went down. But I was better prepared for this layoff financially than the last one in 2006. I am already taking classes to start a career in another industry. Hopefully New Mexico provides jobs in that industry or I may be moving out of state.