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Western New York, December 2004

Business Expansions

New this Month

India base ICICI OneSource Ltd recently acquired a 500-job debt collector in Amherst called Account Solutions Group (Erie County). As part of OneSource, Account Solutions expects to grow its business and hire 200 people in the next year.

American Pharmaceutical Partners (Erie County) plans to hire 120 additional workers over the next two years as the drug maker expands its operation on Grand Island. The company will add 50,000 square feet to its current facility, allowing it to increase its drug manufacturing operations, and boost its employment from 470 to 590 within two years.

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York (Erie County) will have a new home in the former Buffalo Gas Light Co. site in downtown Buffalo. The company plans to relocate its 1,200 employees to the downtown site by the end of 2007. The $100 million-plus project is billed as the largest private-sector development in downtown since 1967.

The state Office of General Services (Erie County) has issued a request for proposals from downtown building owners to relocate approximately 430 workers from the Donovan State office Building to make room for the giant Bass Pro retail project. The 146,000-square-foot Donovan will be torn down and replaced by a parking ramp and intermodal transportation center that will serve the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store. Because of the tight deadline, calling for relocation by the end of 2005, it's most probable that existing vacant office space will be used.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Under the new budget, which was narrowly passed by county Legislators, about 400 Erie County Employees will be laid off. The sales tax will increase by a penny, up to 9.25 cents on March 1. Negotiators agreed to let Buffalo and Erie County's towns and villages share $12.5 million in new sales tax money, an amount that was crucial in order for lawmakers to approve the increase.

Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries (Erie County) will begin to see major cuts in the next year. The new budget adopted by the county, calls for cuts in personnel, hours and services. Some 14 percent of the library system's staff- an equivalent of 84 full-time jobs- will be laid off or eliminated through retirements and the trimming of vacant jobs.

Delphi Corp. (Niagara County) will spend $150 million dollars to trim its work force next year, meaning severance bonuses- and fewer jobs- at its plant in Lockport. Delphi needs to reduce its head count, cutting about 8,500 workers in the U.S. If spread evenly, the 8.6% cut would mean an estimated loss of 275 jobs in Lockport. The plant has 4,200 workers, making it the largest manufacturer in the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Just eight weeks after opening a call center in Amherst, ICT Group (Erie County) has terminated about 200 newly hired workers after client Experian dropped its contract. The company had planned to staff the site with 230 people by January 1.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

The Teamsters union local 375 in Buffalo has petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election for about 430 card dealers at the Seneca Niagara Casino (Niagara County). A hearing on the election is scheduled for December 10 by the labor board's Buffalo office.

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