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Western New York, January 2005

Business Expansions

New this Month

Geico (Erie County) has already hired 500 employees for its new Buffalo office and continues to drive toward a targeted 2,500 member workforce in the next four years. The company plans to hire 100 more employees in each of the next four months.

Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus’s (Erie County) new research complex, near downtown, is set to open for business this year. The first to center to open in the campus will be the Hauptman-Woodward Institute due to be completed in the spring. Following in early 2006 are the adjacent Roswell Park Center and University of Buffalo Bioinformatics Center.

Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse and Kohl’s Department Stores (Erie County) will each debut with three stores in the Buffalo Niagara retail community. Lowe’s will open its first store in Orchard Park on February 8, and two more will open in Amherst later this year. Kohl’s has started construction on all three of its stores. While Kohl’s has declined to talk about the stores, the construction industry says the stores may open as early as April 1.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Cutco (Cattaraugus County) is cutting 136 unionized jobs at the Olean manufacturing plant. The reductions, which are scheduled to take effect January 10, will be the third round of cuts in the last nine months. Including the latest cuts, the work force has been reduced by 381 jobs. In addition to the manufacturing job losses, an undetermined amount of salaried job cuts will follow.

Clientlogic (Erie County) will be closing its doors. The remaining 200 or so employees of the homegrown call center giant located in Buffalo, will be out of work as of March 11.

About 65 hourly jobs at Delphi Thermal & Interior (Erie County) are moving from Lockport to a Delphi plant in Michigan this year. The transfer stems from the company’s efforts to reduce costs.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

An arbitrator has sided with the city in a police pay dispute, dismissing a union claim that the latest contract shortchanged about 60 officers. The Police Benevolent Association (Erie County) argued that the contract entitled all officers to $5,000, regardless of whether they left the force before the end of the fiscal year. About 32 officers retired during the period; another 30 were laid off, but most later were rehired. The union does not plan to appeal the ruling.

Buffalo City Firefighters (Erie County) are currently in arbitration with the city, seeking the same compensation that police officers received. Officers received retroactive increases of $5,000 across the board, plus annual raises of 3.4 percent. The control board imposed a citywide wage freeze that suspended an increase that officers were scheduled to receive last July. The police and other city unions are fighting the freeze in court.

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