GlobalFoundries,While the exact number of lay offs at IBM s Essex plant was not known at press time, the total number was expected to be under 500. If it were more than 499, IBM would have been required by federal law to notify state officials before the action, which it did not. According to Vermont Department of Labor Commissioner Pat Moulton Powden, she was not informed ahead of time of the layoffs. She confirmed that IBM had laid off less then 500 of its roughly 5,200 employees Tuesday, January 27.The layoffs had been anticipated for a few weeks, with worldwide cuts rumored to be about 16,000, though IBM has neither cut that many nor indicated if or when it would make further job force reductions. The Systems & Technology Group, which the Essex Plant is a part, was the only division to see a drop in revenue last year. Overall, IBM’s sales rose 4.9 percent in 2008 to $103.6 billion, and net income rose by 18.4 percent to $12.3 billion. The per share profit was $8.93, which in part was due to the company’s aggressive stock buy back plan.The spokesperson said that this was a nationwide lay off and not specific to the Essex Junction plant. Severance packages were offered but no details concerning them were released, she said. Powden said several laid off employees will stay on the payroll for several weeks. Labor groups have said that IBM laid off about 2,800 workers in other facilities last week.Commissioner Powden indicated that the Department of Labor s Rapid Response Team was ready to help out and was waiting for word from IBM when they should come to the plant. Powden indicated that she thought the Labor Department would be up at IBM the 2nd or 3rd week in February with their team. IBM will be in charge of contacting the laid off employees once the team is in place. The Vermont Department of Labor will work with the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce in putting on entrepreneurial workshops for the laid off employees.IBM is Vermont s second largest private employer behind only Fletcher Allen Health Care. The State of Vermont, by comparison, is larger than both with more than 8,000 employees. Governor Douglas has proposed in January that 660 state jobs be eliminated in order to help balance the state s books.More information will be available on the Labor Department Web site, http://labor.vermont.gov(link is external).Commissioner Powden said that an IBM spokesperson told her that the lay offs were less than 10 percent of the total workforce. Other media reported that the percent was in the 5 to 7 percent range. IBM declined to tell her exactly how many.