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Western New York, February 2008

Business Expansions

New this Month

Dunkirk’s Brooks Memorial Hospital and the TLC Health Network in Gowanda and Irving announced their intent to link under an active parent organization to be known as Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York. The two health care providers began talks last June when the Berger Commission announced that TLC was targeted for downsizing. Long-time health care services will be retained at each facility, with smaller capacity. After approval by the state Health department, the new name is expected to debut formally later this year.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) announced a number of operational changes that will cut 81 employees and save $1.8 million. The changes announced February 1st are in addition to the previously announced closing of the Bridges child and adolescent behavioral health unit, which will cease operations on March 1st. On March 28th, the day care center will close, and on April 30th, it will shut a dental clinic, as well as several management positions.

General Motors Corp., eager to lower wages and help curb the losses it saw in 2007, said it is offering a new round of buyouts to all 74,000 of its U.S. hourly workers represented by the UAW. Workers will be given details over the next several weeks. Most of those who accept the buyout are expected to leave by July 1st. GM employs 1,860 people at its engine plant in Tonawanda (Erie County).

Niagara Transformer Corp. in Cheektowaga (Erie County) is thinking about moving to North Carolina because of a holdup in obtaining Brownfield tax credits that would be a key piece of an incentive package to help it expand here. At risk are 54 existing jobs, as well as 14 new jobs over the next two years.

Hourly workers at Ford’s Stamping plant in Hamburg (Erie County) will be able to start signing up for buyout packages on February 18th. The Hamburg stamping plant has 1,008 hourly workers.

Bush Industries laid off 50 workers at its plant in Jamestown (Chautauqua County) on February 15th. In addition to its plant closing in Little Valley last spring, this marks the third time since November 2007 that employees have been laid off.

More than 300 call center workers at TeleTech in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) got word that their employment will end April 26th. The job cuts are in response to changes in business conditions with a client currently served by call agents at the center. The layoffs, which will cut the Niagara Falls workforce by half, mostly affect employees in full-time, permanent positions.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Contracts with the paid professional firefighters, Police Department and civil service employees in the City of Dunkirk (Chautauqua County) were approved on February 19th. Their contracts extend until 2010 and 2011.

Talks between American Axle & Manufacturing and the United Auto Workers failed to yield a new contract resulting in the company’s 3,600 UAW employees to go on strike beginning today, February 26, 2008. The company employs approximately 500 workers between its Tonawanda Forge and Cheektowaga (Erie County) plants.

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