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Western New York, June 2008

Business Expansions

New this Month

Dresser-Rand Group announced it will invest a combined $25 million in two projects at its Olean (Cattaraugus County) manufacturing plant that is expected to create up to 120 new jobs.

Restaurant Depot, a discount big-box store for small restaurant owners, caterers and not-for-profits, is planning a 55,000 square foot store in Cheektowaga. (Erie County) The store would employ about 50 union and non-union workers.

American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc.’s Grand Island (Erie County) plant is planning a $12 million expansion, a move that could see the medical industry giant add 40 jobs to the facility.

Lackawanna Clean Energy wants to build a massive plant at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna (Erie County) that would convert petroleum coke-a waste product of oil refining- into synthetic gas. The company says it will spend $1.5 billion to clean up the plants dormant coke oven facility and then build its facility, creating 1,500 construction jobs and at least 150 permanent positions at the site. Lackawanna Clean Energy officials are looking to complete the cleanup and construction by 2012.

Kaleida Health and Erie County Medical Center reached a historic agreement on June 23rd on how to combine their institutions, creating a once-in-a-generation opportunity to remake Buffalo’s (Erie County) inefficient health care system. The state’s commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st century had ordered ECMC and Kaleida Health to form a unified, nonpublic entity that included UB by June 30th. The deal settles a lawsuit brought by ECMC against the state; preserving $65 million in state aid to close Kaleida’s Millard Fillmore Hospital and merge its operations into Buffalo General. Long sought changes in hospital care in the region also include construction of a center for heart and vascular care on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the formation of a hospital network aligned with the University at Buffalo to enhance medical programs, start new ones, replace aging facilities, recruit physicians and improve the training of new doctors.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, a Pennsylvania based discount store, has opened its second location in the Western New York area in Hamburg (Erie County). The store will employ between 50 and 60 full and part-time workers.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Calspan Corp. has dropped its planned $62.5 million acquisition of BAE’s Flight Systems division out of concern that the deal could put local control of Calspan at risk. Calspan, which has operations in Cheektowaga (Erie County) and Niagara Falls, (Niagara County) in March announced a tentative deal to acquire the California-based company. The acquisition was expected to add some local jobs, bolster revenues and create more opportunities for work with the Department of Defense. The company has about 250 employees, about 230 of which are local jobs.

Performance Transportation Services, a carhauler with a terminal in the Town of Niagara (Niagara County) is shutting down, citing its inability to reach a deal to end a five-day teamsters strike. About 140 local workers will be affected.

A slowdown in orders from key retail customers has led Bush Industries in Jamestown (Chautauqua County) to make another round of layoffs. Over the past several months, Bush has laid off nearly 150 workers.

About 370 of the roughly 1,500 hourly workers at General Motors Corp. in the Tonawanda (Erie County) engine plant signed up for one of the buyout or early retirement offers offered by the company. GM expects to replace some of the workers at a new entry-level wage of about $14 per hour, about half the rate of current production workers.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Workers at car hauler Performance Transportation Services, which has a terminal in the Town of Niagara (Niagara County), went on strike Monday, June 9th. About 140 of the 1,250 workers involved in the strike are drivers, mechanics and yard men in the Niagara Falls location. Locally, the workers belong to Teamsters Local 449. PTS, which hauls vehicles for GM, Ford, and Toyota, among other manufacturers, is in bankruptcy. The Niagara County location is one of 24 terminals affected by the walkout.

White-collar employees in City Hall in Buffalo (Erie County) ratified a new contract Monday, June 9th, becoming the first large union to reach a labor deal since Buffalo was placed under the watch of a fiscal control board. Nearly 500 union workers and about 120 non-union employees will receive raises over the next four years.

Unionized workers at Tops Markets have approved a new three-year contract. Commercial Workers Local One, represents about 9,000 workers at Tops stores in New York state and Pennsylvania. Tops recently affirmed Amherst as its corporate headquarters and is planning to add jobs.

Mercy Hospital of Buffalo (Erie County) workers represented by Communication Workers of America Local 1133 ratified a contract during a vote held on June 19th. The four-year agreement covers about 650 nurses and 1,200 service, technical and clerical staff.

All 400 workers temporarily laid off during the recent American Axle strike have been recalled at Delphi Thermal Systems in Lockport.(Erie County)

Workers at Delphi Thermal Systems' Lockport (Erie County)plant strongly approved a "competitive operating agreement" from the United Auto Workers union and Delphi management. Ratifying the agreement benefits the Lockport plant in two ways: it allows the plant to receive work it was pledged under last year's national deal, and it opens the door for the plant to seek additional work.

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