Intel Announces Layoffs And A Plant Closure

Yesterday Intel announced that it’s closing the Massachusetts fab 17 affecting 700 employees, according to the Boston post “Intel will close Mass. plant, cut 700 jobs“. Today Intel announced that it’s “redeploying” 400 people at it’s Rio Rancho Fab11x plant according to the Albuquerque Journal “Intel cutting 400 positions from Rio Rancho plant“.

“Due to a shifting market, we are making some difficult business decisions. Specifically, in New Mexico, we have notified employees of a phased process of redeploying up to 400 positions,” company spokeswoman Natasha Martell Jackson said in an email.

The company said it is offering Rio Rancho employees jobs at other Intel locations, buyouts and severance packages to achieve the workforce reduction. Once it becomes clearer how many are willing to take the various offers, the company said it will be able to offer more detail on the reduction.

In March of 2009 Intel had layoffs and I wrote “Planning For Loosing My Job And Extended Unemployment” when the Rio Rancho site laid off 200 people.

I survived that layoff and wrote “Intel’s New Mexico Site Layoffs, One Week Later“. I don’t know if I will survive this one.

A few more articles from The Albquerque Journal “Intel plant in Rio Rancho cutting 400 jobs” and “City reacts to Intel’s job cut announcement“.

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Intel Doesn't Hire Enough New Mexican's Again

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From the Albuquerque Journal “Intel misses mark on in-state hires

For the third time in five years, computer chipmaker Intel failed to ensure that 60 percent of the new hires at its Rio Rancho plant are New Mexico residents.

That means the company will have to spend $100,000 toward school-to-work programs, under an agreement it made with Sandoval County.

Liz Shipley, Intel’s government affairs manager in New Mexico, said as technology becomes more complex, the company is having more difficulty finding candidates locally and nationally who have the needed master’s or doctoral degrees in science and engineering.

“It’s not just in New Mexico; we’re seeing a shortage throughout the country,” Shipley told Sandoval County commissioners on Thursday.

A report Shipley presented to the commission showed that about 26 percent – or 19 of the 74 employees the company hired in 2012 – were state residents.

Intel currently has about 3,300 employees at its Rio Rancho plant. The 60 percent hiring goal was one of the conditions the county set in 2004 when it approved a $16 billion revenue bond for Intel.

Intel missed the goal in 2011 and 2009 as well. In 2011, 35 percent of 349 new hires were from New Mexico. In 2009, three of eight new hires were state residents. In 2010, the company’s New Mexico hires were right at the 60 percent mark.

What's The Future Of The Intel New Mexico Site

Intel outside by cjc4454 on flickr
Intel outside by cjc4454 on flickr
Intel outside by cjc4454 on flickr

An article in the Albuquerque Journal “Intel’s N.M. future” looks at the Intel Rio Rancho site’s comparison to other state and it’s possibility of building out to support Intel’s latest technology.

Now, with Moore’s law still pushing Intel to double down, or perhaps double up, on the number of transistors it crams onto each chip, New Mexico is vying for the next round of investment in factory upgrades to produce smaller transistors, measured in nanometers.

The plant was last upgraded in 2009 to go from 45-nanometer transistors on chips to 32 nanometers. But that means today Rio Rancho is two cycles behind the curve, since Intel is already producing 22-nanometer chips at other factories, and the company is building manufacturing capacity for 14-nanometer chips at its plants in Arizona and Ireland.

“The next node is 10 nanometer, and no decision has been made yet about where that will be,” said Kirby Jefferson, who became Intel’s Rio Rancho site manager in May. “New Mexico could be 10 nanometers, but next after that is seven nanometers, and maybe New Mexico could be the place for that.”

Another article on the Albuquerque Journal “Intel’s RR plant still viable” that came out at the same time wonders what if Intel’s New Mexico site doesn’t get any new technology.

It’s a question that surfaces in conversations at coffee shops and board rooms in the Albuquerque metropolitan area: Will Intel Corp. invest in upgrades at its plant in Rio Rancho to produce next-generation technology or, as the chips it now produces here become older and less useful, will the Rio Rancho factory wither up and go away?

But the man now running the show in Rio Rancho, site manager Kirby Jefferson, says that kind of talk is premature, because even without upgrades for newer technology, the plant will have plenty of work for years to come.

Urinating In The Jemez To Find Bigfoot

Bigfoot

The species of bigfoot is so hard to find, but is apparently everywhere. Including the Jemez Mountians in New Mexico. From the Albuquerque Journal article titled “Bigfoot? In the Jemez? Perhaps“.

The New Mexico episode centered on a nighttime thermal video taken in the Jemez on an outing of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization in 2011. The TV team camped out in the Jemez in the same spot that the BFRO captured a figure lurking in the woods and tried to lure a sasquatch by howling and urinating to mark territory in hopes the apeman would move in to defend it.

Intel Misses New Mexico Hiring Goals

From the Albuquerque Journal “Intel Misses N.M. Goal For Hiring“:

For the third time in five years, computer chipmaker Intel fell short of a goal set by Sandoval County to ensure 60 percent of the new hires for its Rio Rancho plant are New Mexico residents.

A report presented to Sandoval County commissioners by Intel government affairs manager Liz Shipley this week showed only 35 percent of the 349 employees the company hired in 2011 were state residents.

Under the 2004 agreement, Intel must pay the county $100,000 to be spent on educational initiatives if it fails to meet the hiring requirement.

Rain Water Harvesting In Rio Rancho

A great article by John Fleck in The Albuquerque Journal titled “Rain, Rain, Come Again Any Day” in which Carl Axness, a former Sandia Labs scientist, lives completely on rain water in Rio Rancho.

“It’s not that I wanted to be real green, though I like being green,” Axness said one recent morning as the sun beat down on a layer of snow blanketing his neighborhood four miles northeast of Intel’s Sandoval County computer chip plant. Behind him, solar panels tapped into the morning sun’s energy while the steady drips from the metal roof slowly filled the cisterns that surround the spacious home.

The cisterns are Axness’ practical solution to a quintessentially Rio Rancho problem. The lot is located in that sprawling, platted part of the city’s suburban edge that did not have water lines. Axness bought years ago, and expected a water line would be extended past the property by the time he was ready to build on it. When that did not happen, he realized he was faced with a cost of more than $50,000 to install pipe to get city water to his house, so he began exploring the alternatives.

Intel Looses A Friend In The Sandoval County Tax Department

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Sandoval County Manager has been fired over an Intel Tax Dispute.

Sandoval County Manager Juan Vigil was fired Friday following a property tax dispute with computer giant Intel.
As a result of resolving that dispute, the household-name international company that opened its Rio Rancho plant more than 30 years ago will have to pay property taxes for the first time this year.
County Commission Chairman Darryl Madalena hand-delivered a one-page letter to Vigil on Friday that told him to vacate his office and return all county property by 4 p.m. Monday.
Vigil did not respond to a phone message asking for comment.
Earlier this week, Vigil provided documents, which he said were unofficial, that showed the county assessed Intel’s Rio Rancho plant property at $38.2 million, with a taxable value of $12.7 million.
Jami Grindatto, Intel’s director of corporate affairs for the Southwestern U.S. said this week the company was happy to go on the county tax rolls and the county assessor is determining how much tax the company will owe.
In an interview on Friday, Madalena said the reason for firing Vigil was that the county needed to “move in a different, more positive direction.”

Update 04/19/2011: I was confused by this article on the first read. I thought they fired the County Manager becasue he didn’t want to tax Intel. It appears that the now fired county manager had completed the paperwork to proceed with taxing Intel, thus he was fired. So the new direction the commission wants to move in is the old direction, where Intel doesn’t get taxed. This firing has apparently caused a big problem for the commission to continue working.

“Move in a different, more positive direction” means corporations need to pay more taxes. This is at a time when there are rumors that Intel is looking to expand the Rio Rancho site after they announced a new Fab in Arizona and no doubt the tax situation has something to do with that (note: as an Intel employee, I only know the same rumors that are reported in the news papers). It’s also important to remember that states compete with each other and another state will be happy to make Intel a better deal.

The article goes on about how Intel has spent millions to build things like Rio Rancho High School. The article doesn’t mention that the city of Rio Rancho was an overgrown truck stop before Intel decided to employ thousands of the most highly paid positions (not including government) in the state of New Mexico. Meanwhile the Village of Corrales is trying to stop any attempt at Intel expanding because they think Intel is killing them with pollution.

Someone will email me in a panic that Intel will shut down the Rio Rancho site because of this news. I think Intel is far from making this happen. But this is not something that will encourage Intel to expand the site or make further upgrades making the long term future of the site questionable. Refer to why Tesla didn’t build a factory in Albuquerque, because California made them a better deal.