Laid off workers feel cheated, angry

February 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
There are more layoffs in Silicon Valley, but some of these workers have no intention of walking away quietly. They feel cheated and they're angry.

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"I was their biggest cheerleader," said Paula Rao.

Paula Rao gave a lot to Spansion. She gave 31-years of work, countless hours in the research and development department, and her loyalty. The flash memory chip maker furloughed her December 28th.

After several delays, she was supposed to finally return, March 3rd, but on Monday, she was laid off.

"I had not planned on going anywhere else to work. I'd been there for so long, I assumed I'd be there until I retired," said Paula Rao.

The Sunnyvale company laid off 3,000 employees, which is 35 percent of its work force. Spansion released a statement Thursday saying "Regrettably the company needs to size itself to compete in the current economic environment with forecasted reduced demand."

But workers are outraged because a salary cut that had been imposed on some managers has been rescinded. Spansion insists it's a necessary move to maintain leadership.

"It's been pretty hard for everybody here," said one worker leaving Spansion.

More layoffs could come as the company considers a sale or merger in the future.

Steve Moore is a business coach for those in high tech and manufacturing. He says finding new jobs for Spansions' laid-off workers will be challenging. Especially since many had been doing the same job in the department for decades.

"People have to repackage and re-position themselves laterally, otherwise it may be months or years until they find something," said Moore.

Many of the laid off workers want Spansion to pay. They're filing a class action law suit, claiming Spansion violated a federal law which requires they give workers 60 days notice before a mass lay off.

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