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Western New York, January 2006

Business Expansions

New this Month

Seneca Niagara Casino Hotel (Niagara County) opened 10 of its 26 floors on December 30th. The remainder of the hotel is set to open in the spring of 2006. Once completed, the hotel will employ about 1,000 people.

Capital Management Services Inc., a Buffalo (Erie County) call center, expects to hire between 250 to 300 people in 2006 and another 250 to 300 in the next three years.

Allied Interstate plans to relocate its call center to Cheektowaga (Erie County) and add 250 jobs over the next three years. The company, which is a subsidiary of New York City-based IntelliRisk Management, specializes in collections, accounts receivable management and customer retention. They will invest $1.3 million in the facility and retain 50 existing jobs.

Three new restaurants plan to move into Amherst’s (Erie County) Boulevard Mall this summer. Bonefish Grill a seafood specialty Florida based chain will be the first to open with its first local chain in July. Johnny Rockets, a retro diner style chain also plans to open in July, and Grand Buffet an Asian-style restaurant intends to open in August.

Plans to open five satellite auto bureaus throughout suburban Erie County came together this week. Two Erie County Auto Bureaus were closed last year during the county budget crisis. As a result, the county clerk’s office has found five satellite locations, all rent free, that will be opening within the next few weeks. The plan is less expensive than reopening the two bureaus that were closed and should boost the count’s auto bureau revenue by $2 million.

Seneca Nation of Indians officials held a steel-raising ceremony January 27 at the Seneca Allegany Casino (Cattaraugus County). Construction began for a permanent casino and hotel at the site. The permanent 11-story casino will feature 220 hotel rooms, three restaurants and an expanded gaming area.

Business Contractions

New this Month

The State Legislature gave its final approval on January 9th to raise the sales tax in Erie County to 8.75%. The increase takes effect on January 15.

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced that it would close three schools in the Buffalo (Erie County) area; St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Martin of Tours and St. Bonaventure and one in Batavia in June. The schools employ 77 faculty and staff, who will be laid off. More closings could be announced if schools do not meet their registration targets over the next several weeks.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Buffalo Firefighters’ effort to regain parity with police officers gathered momentum when a judge ordered new arbitration proceedings. The ruling does not change the wage freeze that remains in effect.

Dresser-Rand management reached a tentative agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Moore Lodge Union Local 1580 from the Wellsville (Allegany County) facility. Dresser-Rand is among the largest suppliers of rotating equipment solutions to the worldwide oil, gas, petrochemical and process industries. Local union workers approved the 3 ½ year contract that protects jobs, but lowers wages by up to 20 percent. The plant has 280 unionized workers plus an additional 50 who are on layoff. The new contract takes effect February 1 through August 15, 2009.

Striking workers at Verizon Yellow Pages across the state, including 90 employees in Amherst (Erie County), have reached a tentative agreement to end their 13-week strike. The workers could return to work on February 6 if the tentative agreement is approved in voting that is to be conducted this week.

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