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Western New York, March 2011

Business Expansions

New this Month

Computer Task Group is looking to expand its local work force by 100 jobs. With the push to implement electronic medical records systems, the technology company is seeing rapid growth in the work that is does in the health care industry. The Buffalo (Erie County) currently has between 225 and 250 employees.

Dunkin Donuts coffee and donut chain is building an additional 20 locations in the Buffalo (Erie County) area over the next several years. The expansion is expected to create about 300 new jobs in Western New York.

KeyCorp has announced plans for its fourth new KeyBank branch in Amherst (Erie County). It will be the bank’s seventh new site in the region. Construction is slated to begin on April 4th and will employ tellers, managers, investment, mortgage and business banking advisors, all of whom are to be hired.

Scott Enterprises plans to expand its local presence with a Marriott Springhill Suites hotel in Lancaster (Erie County). The Erie Pa.-based company expects to complete its land purchase later this week, with construction of the $12 million hotel beginning later this year. The 100-room hotel will be slated to open in the spring of 2013.

I-Squared R-Element in Akron, (Erie County) a manufacturing plant that makes silicon carbon heating elements, is building a $4 million expansion. The 36,000-square-foot expansion will add 20 new jobs over the next three years to the current workforce of about 80.

The Housing Trust Fund Corp. Has approved a $516,000 block grant for Chautauqua County to help Jamestown MVP Plastics LLC in a multi-phase investment involving nearly $20 million in private money and 250 jobs. The block grant will leverage $6.6 million in private financing and more than $1 million in other funding, while helping to create 75 full-time jobs-55 of which will be for low and moderate income individuals.

Try-It Distributing plans to double the size of its Lancaster (Erie County) warehouse to keep pace with growth. The estimated $15 million project will add about 100,000 square feet. The company hopes to begin construction in May and complete the work by next February. Try-It employs 280 people at the warehouse, steadily adding jobs in recent years and expects its work force to keep growing following the expansion.

Windham Professionals, a collections agency in East Aurora (Erie County), was approved for a grant from the Empire State Development Corp. The funds will be used to help cover the cost of acquiring and installing new furniture, fixtures and equipment. The project, which will cost about $2.34 million, will retain 60 jobs and create 140 more.

Honeywell International has finished building a sample plant at its Buffalo (Erie County) research and development center, where the company will make test amounts of a vital component of lithium-ion batteries. The plant, created inside an existing facility, should start producing samples later this year. The sample plant project has added six new jobs.

Business Contractions

New this Month

DirectBuy of Buffalo, a home improvement and furnishing club that members pay to be a part of, has abruptly closed its Cheektowaga (Erie County) location. The site, which closed March 3rd, was operated by a franchisee.

The Buffalo News is looking to downsize yet again, offering buyout options to some of its employees. The resignations would be a voluntary incentive offered to 26 Guild members in three departments. This is the fourth round of buyouts since the fall of 2008.

Buffalo State College is answering a $6.4 million budget gap by not filling 56 vacant positions, including 21 faculty positions. The move will save the college form laying off workers or eliminating academic programs.

Verizon Communications has pulled its plans to build a $4 billion data center in Somerset (Niagara County). Three main reasons were given for scrapping the project: a lawsuit, the land seller, and a new acquisition. The data center would have created up 200 jobs. Verizon will need to build more data centers in the future, and Western New York will be considered.

The slowdown in Japan auto operations following the earthquake and tsunami is reaching the GM engine plant in the Town of Tonawanda. (Erie County) The plant has placed 59 workers who build the in-line 4 and 5 cylinder engines on temporary layoff beginning March 21, 2011 because those engines go to a plant in Louisiana that has been idled due to a parts slowdown from Japan. The workers were recalled on March 28th.

The American Red Cross Blood Services Division is getting ready to slash 51 jobs, most of them part-time. Last year, the Red Cross closed a tele-recruiting center in Buffalo, eliminating 63 jobs.

More than 400 teachers and 23 administrators in the Buffalo Public School system (Erie County) will be eligible for a retirement incentive approved by the Buffalo Board of Education. The incentive is available for teachers and administrators who are no longer eligible for the retirement incentive that is built into their contracts, in most cases employees that are 58 or older. The objective of the incentive is to avoid layoffs and save money in the wake of state budget cuts to school spending.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Allegany County and its largest union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, have reached a new three year deal that includes raises for the 242 employees represented by the union. The county and union, whose old agreement expired in December of 2009, now have an agreement until the end of 2014.

WKBW-TV in Buffalo (Erie County) has reached a new contract with 40 union members after a prolonged dispute. The ABC affiliate’s affected employees belong to Local 25 of the national Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians—Communications Workers of America.

Unionized workers at Luvata Buffalo (Erie County) voted in favor of giving their leaders the authority to call a strike as contract talks continue. A one-year extension of a contract between the workers and the company is set to expire on March 31. USW local 593 represents about 450 workers at the brass and copper plant. (March 22, 2011-the buffalo news)

An agreement has been reached between the Erie County Executive and Local 815, Civil Service Employees Association, over Regular part-time employees, to make the employees whole—as though they had been 40-hour employees from their starting date. In a move that the County Executive implemented in 2008 as a way to save money, a new employment category, regular part time, the employees would work part-time, up to 39 hours per week, in jobs that were full-time jobs, while still giving them half the paid time off, and shorter lunch periods. Under the new agreement reached, regular part-time employees will be those who work between 20 and 40 hours a week, but any time they work more than 60 hours in a two-week period they will be treated as a full-timer. Also, no employee will be hired as a regular-part time employee to work 39 hours in replacement of full time employees. The employees will be compensated with wages paid at their 2011 rate. About 300 regular part-time workers will receive back pay and benefits, costing Erie County about $450,000.

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