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Western New York, August 2006

Business Expansions

New this Month

A Buffalo (Erie County) biotech company will develop a health-care prototype for its product and take it into clinical trials with new funding from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research. Buffalo BioBlower Technologies LLC received a grant that will help support construction of a test room for evaluating the patented medical device that uses high temperatures and pressure for air sterilization. The goal of the new award is the development of a health-care division, potentially creating up to 100 new jobs.

Multy Industries of Toronto, a manufacturer and distributor of floor coverings, is closing its location in Georgia and plans to move its distribution center to Eden (Erie County). While there would be some assembly work, the majority of the facility will be used as a warehouse and distribution center and will employ between 25-50 people.

Three companies in Erie County were awarded incentives from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for expansions leading to the creation of 140 new jobs. Incentives were approved for Astronics Corp, Praxair and Costanzo’s Bakery. Combined, the projects are valued at $11.1 million and will receive $2.7 million in incentives.

Business Contractions

New this Month

M&T Bank Corp. is planning to transfer up to 40 mortgage processing jobs from Western New York (Erie County) overseas to India as part of an effort to control expenses and remain competitive with larger rivals who are already doing the same. The shift of certain specific functions is expected over the next 12 months.

Time Warner Cable Company debuted in the Buffalo (Erie County) area on Tuesday, August 1st. The New York-based company is keeping two former Adelphia call centers in the region that employ about 660 people. However, about 100 regional office staff whose jobs were duplicated by incoming Time Warner managers, will not make the transition.

The Seneca Nation of Indians has delayed plans to build a large-scale downtown Buffalo (Erie County) casino that was to have created 1,000 new jobs. The Seneca’s announced Wednesday, August 3 that it will build a temporary 5,000-square-foot gaming site, which will meet the compact deadline, within a year. The announcement came as talks between the city and Seneca’s over the sale of a two-block section of Fulton Street, where a 100,000-square-foot casino was to be built, were halted unexpectedly.

Ford Motor Co.’s Woodlawn (Erie County) stamping plant is bracing for the automaker’s sharp cuts in production. Ford announced that it would reduce fourth quarter vehicle production by 21 percent, from a year ago. United Auto Workers Local 897, which represents the hourly workers at the plant, estimates as many as 200 to 300 workers could be affected by the production cutback. The Woodlawn plant supplies stamped parts to nearly all of Ford’s plants in North America. Exactly how many local workers will be affected will be determined when the temporary shutdowns begin.

Tracewell Electronics manufacturing facility in Cuba (Allegany County) is expected to close in the coming months, leaving 80 employees without jobs. The facility manufactured test equipment, power supplies and special-purpose computing hardware for the military and aerospace markets.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

The City of Buffalo’s (Erie County) control board agreed to lift the wage freeze for about 220 of the lowest paid city school employees after union leaders agreed to concessions. However, union members rejected the contract by a 4 to 1 margin. The food service workers would have received a 3 percent pay raises in return for giving up perfect attendance bonuses.

The union that represents employees at DuPont’s Buffalo Avenue (Erie County) facility has settled a lawsuit with the company over photographs the union believes were taken inside the plant. The company sued United Steelworkers and union representative Jim Briggs for $15 million to turn over pictures that the union said depicted safety hazards in the plant. The company also said the pictures reveal trade secrets that should not be made public. The union is now seeking to correct what it believes are safety violations in the plant. 168 union members are employed at the plant.

Niagara County’s two largest unions and county leaders continue to struggle over the terms of a new contract. Members of the two unions are in their fourth year of working under terms of long expired contracts. The two unions, AFSCME and Civil Service Employees Association have been negotiating terms of wages and benefits with the county but have not been able to come to an agreement.

The nine-month strike is over at Buffalo Wire Works (Erie County) but union members are not returning to their jobs at the factory. The Machinists union has called off the strike that began in November 2005 without winning the objectives of the 38 strikers or saving their jobs. Strikers have been permanently replaced by non-union workers.

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