Unskilled American Workers : Fact or Excuse?

TSMC, a Taiwanese semiconductor company, has been accused of using the excuse of a shortage of skilled American workers to delay the construction of its Arizona plant. However, unions have refuted these claims, stating that they have fulfilled all the labor hours requested by TSMC.


The semiconductor industry has been booming, and major players like TSMC are expanding their operations worldwide. However, recent delays in the construction and installation of wafer fab equipment at TSMC’s Fab 21 in Arizona have sparked a heated debate. TSMC’s chairman, Mark Liu, blamed the setbacks on an alleged shortage of skilled American workers with specialized expertise. But Arizona’s union leader, Aaron Butler, has fired back, calling these claims offensive and inaccurate. In this blog post, we’ll examine the arguments from both sides and try to uncover the truth behind the delay.

TSMC’s Claims vs. Union Leader’s Rebuttal

TSMC’s assertion that there is a lack of skilled American workers has drawn sharp criticism from Aaron Butler and the Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council. Butler highlights that Arizona workers have been constructing and equipping fabs for Intel for over four decades, which points to a seasoned and highly skilled workforce ready for the task at hand. The unions claim that they have fulfilled all labor hour requests from TSMC, contradicting TSMC’s allegations of a deficit of skilled American workers.

Is TSMC Using Delays as an Excuse?

Butler goes a step further, suggesting that TSMC might be using the delay as a pretext to hire foreign workers at lower wages. This accusation raises concerns about fairness and the treatment of American workers in the semiconductor project. It’s essential to examine whether there is any truth to these claims or if there are other factors contributing to the delay.

TSMC’s Global Expansion and Challenges

Unlike Intel, which has a Copy Exactly program to replicate fabs worldwide, TSMC faces unique challenges when setting up leading-edge production facilities outside of Taiwan. The company’s extensive experience in Taiwan may not directly translate to a smooth setup in Arizona. Moreover, the semiconductor industry’s ever-evolving technology demands a highly skilled workforce capable of handling cutting-edge fabrication processes.

Read more: U.S. Semiconductor Industry Braces for Chip Worker Shortfall by 2030

The Complexity of Semiconductor Manufacturing

The semiconductor industry is incredibly complex, and manufacturing at advanced nodes requires precise expertise. Setting up a fab is not a trivial task, and delays can occur due to a multitude of reasons, including unforeseen technical challenges, supply chain issues, and even regulatory hurdles. It is crucial to consider these factors before assigning blame solely to the workforce.


The ongoing dispute between TSMC and the Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council sheds light on the challenges of setting up a leading-edge semiconductor production facility in Arizona. While TSMC blames a lack of skilled American workers, the unions contend that the local workforce is well-equipped for the job. We must remember that constructing and equipping a fab is a complex process, and it’s essential to explore all angles before drawing conclusions. In the end, fostering collaboration between international companies and local workers will be vital to achieving success in Arizona’s semiconductor venture.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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