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Western New York, November 2004

Business Expansions

New this Month

Bass Pro Shops (Erie County) executives confirmed their plans to locate a massive outdoor world store in the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium site. The proposed $123 million dollar project, set to open in 2007, will include a 250,000-square-foot sporting goods store, a hotel, a restaurant, museum and combination parking garage/transportation center.

ICT Group (Erie County) is opening a 230-job call center in Amherst, its third in the Buffalo area, to perform customer service work for banks and financial firms. The new location will bring ICT's local employment to about 750 when fully staffed on January 1, 2005.

The Ford Stamping Plant (Erie County) in Hamburg is getting a new $62 million dollar press that will allow it to speed up its production, giving the plant a more competitive edge. The stamping plant currently employs about 1,600 workers.

Tops Markets (Erie County) in Amherst will close for renovations in early January, and undergo a multimillion-dollar expansion. When the remodeled store opens in the late spring or early summer of 2005, it will be the chains largest store in the area. Employment will increase by 70 to 100 employees for the newly created jobs.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Several ClientLogic (Erie County) employees fear that the call center will be closed early next year, after work for an internet operation shifts to India. Company officials would not discuss the contract but stated that they have no plans to close the center at this point. In addition to the shift of the online work, support workers for another division were downsized when their jobs were moved to Mexico this past spring. The company currently employs 455, down from about 600 this summer. Workers say 200 jobs will be lost by the shift of the online work, however, a company official stated that other customer service programs should absorb most or all of the jobs, resulting in fewer layoffs.

Jubilee Foods (Erie County) store in North Buffalo is expected to close in late December. The store employs 75 full- and part-time workers. This will be the third Jubilee store in Erie County to close this year.

American Axle (Erie County) is placing about 130 hourly workers at the two manufacturing facilities in Buffalo on indefinite layoff effective November 29. The cutbacks are being blamed on a downturn in orders from General Motors Corp., the major customer of the facilities affected. The layoff is expected to last three months.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Under a recently approved labor agreement, Delphi Corp.'s (Niagara County) plant in Lockport will make engine-cooling parts for the next generation of General Motors pickup trucks. The agreement guarantees an important carry-over of existing work without which the plant would be decimated. The work will support employment levels without generating new jobs. The agreement does not change the site's trouble plant status. The plant will operate at a loss this year and next. The new agreement expires in September 2007.

American Axle (Erie County) employees in the Cheektowaga plant approved a contract that will run for four years retroactive to March. The new agreement will cover 130 employees in the plant.

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