GLOBALFOUNDRIES Commits to the Safety and Well-being of its Employees, Clients, and Communities Amidst the Global Pandemic
For companies around the world, the idea of “business as usual” has been thrown into upheaval. The global COVID-19 crisis is impacting industry, government, communities, and daily life in unprecedented ways.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES is managing through the crisis with an unwavering focus on two guiding principles: the safety and well-being of our worldwide team, their families and communities; and delivering on our commitments to our clients. With these priorities in mind, the company has taken extraordinary steps to safeguard both its workforce and its manufacturing operations.
As the world’s leading specialty foundry, GF has a unique role in the global supply chain. Its semiconductor technology is vital to a range of industries, including health care, communications, infrastructure, and security. Because of this vital role, GF has been designated an “essential manufacturer” by the states of New York and Vermont, as well as by the federal governments of the United States and Singapore.
To meet this charge of continuing production amidst a global pandemic, GF has adapted to the situation by dynamically adjusting its protocols, health and safety measures, and business processes to protect its team while maintaining manufacturing excellence.
GF has a comprehensive series of measures in place to care for its employees. Around the globe, GF has initiated a work-from-home policy for all non-fab and non-operational employees, which includes colleagues across a wide spectrum of functions, from human resources and finance to legal and procurement. Even many engineers are able to monitor production tools and perform analytics remotely.
To protect employees whose work is directly related to production, and who continue to work “on-site” at the fabs, GF has implemented stringent site controls. These include strict screening of any visitors entering a GF facility, as well as daily temperature screenings of all employees. As of April 6, all employees working on site are required to wear face masks in a continued effort to limit the spread of the virus.
Inside the fabs, GF has enacted mandatory social distancing. Among these measures are capping the number of attendees at in-person meetings, reducing the seating capacity in cafeterias, mapping out 2-meter intervals on the floor in certain areas, and alternating gowning rooms used by employees entering Fab cleanrooms.
In a recent interview with IEEE Spectrum, Ron Sampson, GF senior vice president and general manager of U.S. fab operations, said another change has been moving meetings of the operational staff, whenever possible, to the fab’s cleanroom, which are among the cleanest places on Earth from a contamination perspective. From the interview:
Once employees are suited up and in the clean room, they’re taking advantage of it. “It’s one of the cleanest places on earth,” says Sampson. “We’ve moved all of our operations meetings onto the factory floor itself,” instead of having physically separated team members in a conference room.
Between the shift structure at its fabs, and the company’s work-from-home policy, GF has significantly reduced the number of employees who are on site at any given time. Social distancing and other policies are helping to ensure these employees are as safe as possible.
For all employees, GF has introduced new and enhanced benefits to help team members remain healthy, care for family members, and face other challenges arising from the pandemic. These include emergency paid leave for employees who are unable to work on-site or remotely, and quarantine paid leave for employees who are directed to quarantine by their physician or health authority.
Additionally, to recognize employees who continue to work on-site in fabs, GF announced an appreciation award. At the end of May, this award will be paid to employees - excluding members of the senior leadership team - whose work cannot be done remotely, and who have worked their assigned on-site schedules.
GF understands the pandemic is impacting the daily lives of its employees beyond the workplace. It is also impacting their families, friends, and communities.
“Now more than ever, it is important that we pull together as a community — not just a GF community, but a global one. And the global community is in need,” Mike Cadigan, GF senior vice president of client design enablement, recently stated. Cadigan is the executive co-sponsor of GF’s GlobalGives community impact program.
Recognizing this need, GF has committed to donating more than $1 million USD to support local communities. Half of this funding will go toward supporting regional nonprofits in the areas where GF fabs and offices are located. This effort builds upon GF’s earlier COVID-related donations of $10,000 to food banks near GF sites, including the Central Texas Food Bank, Vermont Foodbank, Hudson Valley Food Bank, Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Second Harvest Silicon Valley, and Singapore’s The Courage Fund.
The other half will be used to expand GF’s GlobalGives matching program. For the remainder of 2020, GF will offer 2:1 matching on all qualifying employee donations, up to $2,500 USD. This builds upon GF’s earlier donation of $25,000 USD across the UN Foundation, which is funding the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 response efforts, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, to provide supplies and relief to frontline health care workers in the hardest hit regions of the world.
Additionally, members of the GF senior leadership team are making personal contributions totaling more than $100,000 USD to nonprofit organizations around the globe to help those impacted by the global pandemic.
GF is also identifying opportunities to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to those at greatest risk to COVID-19. The company has made significant equipment donations – including medical-grade masks, gloves, and gowns – to local hospitals and first responder organizations in each of our regions, and is seeking additional PPE materials to help those in need.
Protecting and Connecting the World
Semiconductors are integral to the technology relied upon by families, individuals, communities, governments, and businesses around the world, in every nation. Semiconductors are also a critical enabling technology of electronic components used in many medical devices – including those that are essential to combating the global pandemic crisis.
One example is GF technology powering leading-edge mobile diagnostic devices, which are being used by health care professionals to monitor patients for pneumonia and lung-related symptoms associated with COVID-19. These devices are being used by doctors and nurses on the front line of the crisis to more effectively treat patients afflicted by the virus.
Additionally, GF semiconductor technology helps to power the IBM supercomputers that are at the heart of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. The partnership brings together government, industry, and academia to provide access to the world’s most powerful high-performance computing resources, in support of fighting the contagion.
Away from the front lines, daily life has been upended for millions of individuals and families who now find themselves working from home and engaged in online learning. More than ever before, wireless devices are playing a central role in people’s lives, and GF technology is helping to make telework and remote learning possible. More than 85 percent of today’s smartphones feature GF RF technology, which also powers other wireless devices such as laptop computers and smart speakers, as well as wi-fi routers, cell towers, and countless other applications.
In a March 23 letter to clients and partners, GLOBALFOUNDRIES CEO Tom Caulfield reported GF fabs were operating at 90 percent to 100 percent of production targets.
Part of this ongoing success is due to GF’s crisis management teams, structured at the corporate level and at each site, who continue to provide real-time guidance for employees and are constantly updating policies in accordance with public health guidance. Teams meet daily, and any emerging issues at a site or within a region can be quickly identified, escalated, and addressed.
The primary reason for this successful business continuity, however, is GF employees and their dedication to the company and its clients.
One standout example Caulfield highlighted are the 450 Malaysian team members who have temporarily relocated to Singapore in response to the Malaysian-Singapore border closing, in order to keep GF operations in Singapore on track. Many of the Malaysian employees who were unable to make the temporary move received new equipment, procured and set up with GF security and remote access within hours by the IT team, to allow them to work from home.
GF manufacturing continuity is also fortified by its strategic sourcing program. Even under normal operating conditions, the company maintains a certain level of “days of supply” of critical inputs, to mitigate against potential or unforeseen supply disruptions. As the COVID-19 crisis continued to worsen, these efforts were amplified and the GF procurement team has doubled down its efforts to secure and reroute source materials to GF fabs.
One of GF’s key strengths is its close collaboration and partnership with its clients. These relationships rely on frequent face-to-face interactions. Like most companies, GF has shifted most of these interactions to virtual encounters. This has involved some adjustments to GF’s IT infrastructure, but the new reality of remote collaboration is progressing well with no disruptions to current projects and no detriment to new projects just getting started.
How long does GF expect this global crisis to last? Sampson, the GF senior vice president and general manager of U.S. fab operations, said no one can be sure.
“This is a situation that is not going to return to normal overnight,” he said. “By its very nature, it’s going to be extended. We recognize that and we’re planning accordingly for that.”
As a manufacturer of some of the most vital technology in the world, GF and its employees are in the problem solving business, Sampson said. No one knows what the “new normal” will be after the world emerges from the pandemic crisis, but GF and its workforce of problem solvers are well-positioned to face and overcome any obstacles that present themselves, he said.
Regardless of how the crisis evolves, GF CEO Caulfield said, the company’s primary concerns will continue to be the health and safety of employees, and delivering on commitments to clients.
“The semiconductor industry is the fuel that drives the worldwide economy, and GF is vital to this industry,” Caulfield told employees. “We will get through this crisis together, and emerge a better company, better team, and even more vital to the world.”