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Western New York, October 2011

Business Expansions

New this Month

Skyzone Sports will open its first indoor trampoline park in Western New York in November. Each Skyzone features a wall-to-wall trampoline that lets people play basketball, dodgeball and sky-robics. A job fair was held on October 8 to fill about 50 positions at its Cheektowaga (Erie County) location.

Russo Development Co. will move from Springville to Hamburg (Erie County) after acquiring a former Penske Truck Leasing Facility.

Construction on a new Tim Hortons Express on Vineyeard Drive in Dunkirk (Chautauqua County)has begun.

120 workers who were let go from Ford last month may soon be back on the job. A tentative labor deal between Ford and the UAW promises “in-sourcing” of 12,000 jobs and as many as 400 new jobs for the Woodlawn (Erie County) Ford Stamping Plant. Voting is expected to take place over the next ten days, wrapping up around October 14.

Construction on a new Tim Hortons Café & Coffee location is poised to start in the city of Buffalo (Erie County). The new outlet is slated to open this winter or by early spring.

St. John Baptist Church leaders unveiled a $1.5 million plan to construct a two-story market in Buffalo (Erie County) that will offer fresh fruit and vegetables, a wellness center and a dental office. Construction is expected to begin in April 2012 and take about three months. The grocery store is expected to generate 50 jobs and that some of those workers will come from a training program the church has developed to teach leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills to young men.

Olin Corp. disclosed that it intends to double bleach production at its Niagara Falls (Niagara County) plant by making a $20 million investment in new buildings and equipment. The new project will add 11 high paying skilled jobs to its work force of 177.

Frank’s Vacuum Truck Service, a waste-hauling company, will spend $2.3 million on its 25,000-square-foot terminal, office and parts warehouse slated to open next spring. The company employs 45 people and intends to add 15 jobs within two years.

A major expansion of North Tonawanda’s (Niagara County) Taylor Devices was unveiled before the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. The company manufactures industrial-strength shock absorbers. The company’s $2.7 million project will allow the company to add 20 jobs in 2012 and 10 jobs in 2013 to its current payroll of 92.

A new hotel and restaurant in North Tonawanda (Niagara County) is in the works for a Wheatfield couple. The Hughes applied for a 10-year PILOT agreement to help them open a 17-room hotel, the Gateway Harbor Inn. The project will cost nearly $4.5 million and is expected to employ 16 full-time and 18 part-time workers.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant will open in its first New York State location at Walden Galleria Mall in Cheektowaga (Erie County) on October 31st. The 266-seat restaurant will feature an on-site brewery and will employ between 60 and 80 people.

After years of legal battles the Amherst (Erie County) Walmart Supercenter opened on October 26th. Plans for the store began in 2006 but actual construction did not begin until early 2010. The new store employs about 500 people.

The Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel has recently brought in retailer in an effort to increase retail sales. Joining Savorski Crystal and Yankee Candle; Watson’s Chocolates is the newest boutique-style store to open in the casino.

Business Contractions

New this Month

More than 300 jobs in Erie County could be lost in the 2012 budget. About half of those jobs are already gone, made up of county workers who left and were never replaced.

Of the nearly 3,500 layoff notices sent out by New York State to members of the Public Employees Federation, about 200 of those laid off are in Western New York. The rejection of the proposed five-year contract by the union members triggered the layoffs. The layoff process is expected to take two or three weeks before employees lose their jobs.

Crawford Furniture will close all five of its retail outlets, ending its direct-to-customer sales initiative and returning to its original model of manufacturing furniture for sale through outside distributors. Production at the company’s Jamestown factory, which shut down in August, started back up on October 3rd, with 100 laid-off workers called back to the job. Going out of business sales will begin today at its five retail stores.

A Falconer (Chautauqua County) manufacturing plant has filed a WARN notice with the Department of Labor that it will shut down in 2012, with layoffs to begin in January. Zurn Industries LLC, a company that makes bathroom fixtures, will idle 51 workers.

Science Kit, a Town of Tonawanda (Erie County) company has filed a WARN notice with the Department of labor. The company is planning to consolidate some of their warehouse operations to its Rochester location. About 40 jobs will be transferred out of Tonawanda to Rochester in January 2012.

After only 10 months, Buckeye’s Chicken, the restaurant that opened to provide jobs to high-risk youth, is closing. About 24 people were employed at the restaurant.

Cattaraugus County will be laying off an unspecified number of employees. The layoffs will be part of the final plan to balance the county’s budget.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

About 500 Corrections officers represented by Teamsters Local 264 rejected a 12-year contract deal with Erie County. The deal called for cutting paid holidays and ending retiree health benefits for new hires. The agreement did include pay raises.

Mail carriers picketed outside of the William Street Post Office in Buffalo (Erie County) on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 between 11:30 am and 1 pm to keep hundreds of jobs in Buffalo. The Postal Service is considering a plan to consolidate hundreds of processing centers, including the William Street site, resulting in 700 jobs being moved to Rochester.

Union workers at the Ford Stamping Plant in Woodlawn (Erie County) have rejected a contract agreement between the company and the United Auto Workers, indicating that Ford and the UAW could have a tough time getting some workers to accept the deal. UAW local 900 was one of the first to vote on the agreement; more votes are scheduled later this week and into next week.

After more than seven months of negotiations, the Buffalo Newspaper Guild CWA local 31026 is still without a new pact with The Buffalo News. The Guild is the largest of 15 unions at the Buffalo News, and includes most of the paper’s news room. A planned byline strike by reporters, set for Sunday October 30, and Monday October 31 was postponed by the guild as talks are progressing between the union and the paper. The two-year deal the Guild is asking for includes annual raises for its 233 members.

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