A day after Gov. Paul LePage set off a wave of speculation and concern by saying a company in southern Maine soon will cut 900 jobs, his staff refused to provide specifics and his own Department of Labor wasn’t aware of any employer planning a mass layoff.

“There’s a big company that hasn’t come out yet, I happen to know about it and I’m sworn to secrecy until they make a public announcement, but we’re talking 900 jobs,” LePage said Wednesday evening at a town hall meeting in Orono, according to MPBN. “In the most prosperous part of the state – down south.”

On Thursday, officials from local economic development agencies, municipalities and the Department of Labor said they didn’t know anything about it.

Speculation that the company might be South Portland’s Fairchild Semiconductor – which is being purchased by ON Semiconductor – led to numerous calls to City Manager James Gailey’s office, prompting him to put out a statement.

“At this time the city has no information of an impending closure or layoff at any major employer within the city of South Portland,” Gailey said. “The city recognizes that corporate mergers and acquisitions often result in changes to the structure of the new corporation, and therefore, we are following this potential acquisition with interest.”

Fairchild Semiconductor, which trades on the Nasdaq exchange as FCS, is headquartered in San Jose, California. Besides the chip fabricating plant in South Portland, which has about 650 employees, it has manufacturing plants in China, Korea, the Philippines and Pennsylvania. Company officials didn’t return calls seeking comment Thursday. A publicly traded company typically goes silent during sale negotiations, to protect its stock price. The offer period on ON Semiconductor’s $2.8 billion deal expires April 19.


City managers in Portland, Scarborough and North Berwick, all home to major employers, said they didn’t have any information about big local companies closing or eliminating hundreds of jobs. Queries to Maine’s congressional delegation and to Maine & Co., a quasi-state agency that attracts businesses to Maine, produced similar results.

Julie Rabinowitz, spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, said the state hasn’t received any notification from a company planning a significant layoff. Federal law requires companies that plan mass layoffs to notify state and federal labor officials, as well as town and city officials, at least 60 days before the job cuts take effect.

Rabinowitz said she knows of no companies in southern Maine or elsewhere in the state planning to cut hundreds of jobs, and LePage hasn’t told his Labor Department which company he was referring to in his Wednesday evening remarks.

“The governor hasn’t shared his information with us,” she said.

LePage’s communications director, Peter Steele, said Thursday that the governor’s office could make no additional information available. He refused to answer questions about how and when the governor got the job loss information, and whether the state’s chief executive has taken any steps to keep the jobs or company here.

Several state lawmakers dealing with funding bills have made comments in recent weeks that they had been hearing about likely job losses coming in southern Maine in the semiconductor industry.


LePage made his comments Wednesday as he talked about the pending closure of the Madison Paper Industries mill, saying the company cutting jobs is concerned about energy costs.

“The biggest issue is they’re competing against Chinese nuclear power and they’re in Maine with the No. 12 energy costs in America,” he said.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Maine ranks No. 7 in the price of natural gas and No. 11 for electricity costs, according to December 2015 data. For industries operating here, the cost of electricity is 38 percent higher than the U.S. average.


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