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Western New York, May 2008

Business Expansions

New this Month

Three Buffalo-area (Erie County) operations plan to create 110 jobs in conjunction with expansions, and were allocated discounted power to support their projects. Allied Frozen Storage, Port-Coat and Val-Kro, are making investments worth a combined #32.7 million. Allied Frozen Storage plans to create 54 jobs, PortCoat LLC is expecting to create 50 jobs, and Val-Kro, plans to add 6 jobs to its work force of 13.

Globe Metallurgical plant, idle since 2003, will reopen as a producer of silicon products for the solar power industry under an agreement with the State Power Authority. Globe will invest $60 million to retool the existing metallurgical-grade silicon plant in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) to produce the premium-grade silicon product. The facility is expected to bring 500 new “green jobs” and be in full production by 2011.

Applied Sciences Group Inc. is seeking to expand through the invention and commercialization of medical technology. The Cheektowaga (Erie County) company focuses on three major areas: programming factory machinery, coordinating energy management in department stores, and creating high-technology solutions. ASG hopes to expand from 38 to 78 employees over the next five years.

Ford Motor Co. is cutting North American production of pickups and SUV’s, but will step up production of cars and crossovers, a positive development for its stamping plant in the Town of Hamburg (Erie County). The plant stamps parts for The Edge and another crossover, the Lincoln MKX., and will also stamp parts for the Flex, a new crossover that Ford is beginning production on. The impact on jobs or overtime has not yet been determined.

The New York Power Authority is lending support to three Niagara Falls (Niagara County) manufacturers that will create 139 new jobs. Existing companies Saint Gobain-Advanced Ceramics and Ceres Crystal Industries will add a total of 64 jobs. Ashland Advanced Material, a new company, will create 75 jobs and invest $8.5 million for manufacturing graphite products and providing high-temperature, heat-treating services.

Callbacks are underway on workers laid off at Delphi Thermal Systems in Lockport (Niagara County) after the just-ended strike at American Axle & Manufacturing. All recalls should be completed during the week of June 9th. The two Buffalo-area American Axle sites employ 510 hourly workers.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Roadhouse Grill, a popular restaurant chain with four locations in Western New York (Erie County), has closed its doors. The sudden closings on May 14th, affects approximately 350 workers.

About 370 of the roughly 1,500 hourly workers at the Town of Tonawanda engine pant (Erie County) have agreed to take General Motors Corp. latest buyout and early retirement offers, opening the door for new hires at lower wages.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Union workers Nationwide and at American Axle Manufacturing & Holdings Inc.’s Western New York (Erie County) plants approved agreements that will establish a new national contract that ended a 13-week strike. The strike began February 26th. American Axle will close its Tonawanda forge, which the UAW estimates will happen in six months to one year. The Tonawanda (Erie County) plant employs about 400 hourly workers. The Cheektowaga plant which employs about 100, will remain open, and the company has pledged to expand it and add work there. Production resumed on Tuesday, May 27th and American Axle is still determining how many workers will be returned to layoff status now that production is resuming, estimating about 130 were on layoff status prior to the strike. American Axle idled a third Western New York operation-its Buffalo Plant, last December, eliminating about 700 jobs.

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