DURHAM – Cree has given some employees pay raises and converted some contract workers to “work directly as Cree employees.” The changes made apply only to Wisconsin workers, a spokesperson for Cree tells WRAL TechWire.

The decision also was not based on recently passed federal tax cuts, according to the company.

“This decision was solely focused on improving compensation for Racine employees and not related to tax cuts,” the spokesperson said.

“We are not able to disclose more information at this time.”

Citing a statement from Durham-based Cree, the Journal Times newspaper in Wisconsin reports that Cree workers were told about the changes next week.

In response to questions from TechWire, Cree provided a copy of the full statement from Jeff Elson, senior vice president of human resources of Cree, that was shared with the newspaper.

Cree’s explanation

The entire statement follows:

“At Cree we recognize that our employees are our greatest asset. We strive to be an employer of choice, which means cultivating an environment where employees feel valued, safe and motivated. As a result, we have implemented several initiatives to continue investing in our Racine team and facility, including converting contract workers to work directly as Cree employees.
We also recently reevaluated compensation and increased rates for new employees, as well as those who were below or near the new starting rate. This increase took place outside of the normal merit cycle and will not replace the existing process for continued investment in employee compensation.
Additionally, as we continue to make the lighting business more efficient, we have invested in installing a multi-million dollar state of the art surface mount technology (SMT) capability at the Racine facility. This will provide increased capacity, reduced lead times and valuable cost reductions to create more high-tech jobs for the facility.
Cree is focused on making smart, long-term investments in its workforce and processes to create growth opportunities for future success. These recent investments at the Racine facility align with Cree’s new corporate strategy to maintain leadership in the industry.”
Cree manufactures LEDs, silicon chips and power-based technologies. It operates facilities in Durham, Wisconsin, China and elsewhere.

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