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Western New York, April 2012

Business Expansions

New this Month

Aldi’s discount supermarket chain has bought a vacant lot on the East Side of Buffalo (Erie County) for a new store. The new supermarket is slated to open this summer.

Yahoo announced that it is laying off 2,000 employees, or about 14% of its workforce, but none of the cuts will come from the Lockport data center. The data center is one of only two locations in the country that will be adding jobs. Yahoo employs 75 people here.

The first four-year financial plan by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has been released. The number of county workers would remain the same, with about 50 fewer jobs which would be lost primarily through retirements through 2015.

A proposal to build 49 townhouse units in the city of Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood has received a significant boost. The project will create 150 jobs and construction could begin as soon as August and be completed in 12 to 18 months.

Experienced Bricks is expanding its business and is planning to hire up to 20 full-time employees. The Amherst (Erie County) company sells re-claimed bricks from area buildings, streets and sidewalks.

Eight career fairs were held in New York State on April 12th. Buffalo’s job fair was held downtown with jobs in fields such as health care, manufacturing, government, higher education and retail.

The Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) is looking to hire 70 new employees. For the sixth year in a row the casino held a job fair to fill positions, including specialists in information technology, cage cashiers, warehouse attendants and various food and beverage positions.

SFK Aeroengine North America plans to expand its operations in Falconer (Chautauqua County) with a boost from the Empire State Development Corp. The $ 179 million project was one of four across New York to receive a financial incentive package. SFK makes high-precision, custom-engineered ball and roller bearings used in the aeroengine and other industries. The expansion will retain 600 jobs.

The Niagara IDA is working to retain its largest taxpayer, the bankrupt AES Somerset Power Plant. NCIDA directors have agreed to accept an application from the company’s bondholders to modify an existing payment-in-lieu-of-taxes package. The directors will formally vote on the modified deal on May 23. The plant employs approximately 120 workers and is Niagara County’s largest private taxpayer.

Modern Tec Manufacturing in the Town of Cambria (Niagara County) plans to invest $1 million to expand its plant. The company makes custom-made high precision machine components used in the medical, military and other fields. An incentive from the NCIDA will help the company add 10 workers to its current 16-person workforce.

Sun Orchard Fruit Co. in Newfane has received an incentive from the Niagara County IDA to build a $3.48 million, 24,000-square-foot addition to its current operations in order to house a new production line. The apple packing company’s expanded facility will enable Sun Orchard to pack the increased supply of orders they are receiving more effectively and efficiently. 12 new jobs will be created while retaining another 54 current positions.

The ECC New York State Career Center in Orchard Park (Erie County) held its First annual Youth Job Fair on April 19th. The event was open to graduating high school seniors or older.

The Pentagon plans to restore nearly 2,200 of the 5,100 National Guard positions that the Air Force had slated for elimination at bases that fly C-130 cargo planes, such as the 107th Airlift Wing in Niagara Falls. The Pentagon has not yet said which units will be spared, so it still remains possible that the 107th could still be eliminated, along with 845 local jobs.

Site work is nearly complete on Ellicott Development’s latest project, the first Wyndham-branded hotel in Erie County. Elma-based Concept Construction Corp. will begin construction on the hotel in the next few days. The mixed-use project includes the 120-room Wyndham Garden Hotel & Suites, 33 market-rate upscale apartments and a first floor restaurant. The hotel and apartments should be open by late 2013.

National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. will begin construction on a compressor station in Wales (Erie County) this week. The station is part of the company’s $62 million Northern Access project, which will increase the company’s ability to transport Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania through Western New York into Canada and the Northeastern part of the U.S. Construction began April 23 on an access road to the site. Four structures will comprise the compressor site, which covers 1 ¾ acres.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Layoffs have begun at Sheehan Memorial Hospital in Buffalo (Erie County). A WARN notice was filed with the NYS Department of Labor indicating that 147 workers will be let go. The first separations of 100 workers occurred on April 3rd. The facility is set to close on May 31st. Alternate uses for the facility have been proposed by a group of physicians to reuse the building for medical services.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

A new labor contract for United Steelworkers of American District 4 was ratified and covers 1,800 in the United States and Canada. Locally it covers 262 workers at the Lackawanna (Erie County) Republic Steel mill. Along with the contract approval, the company announced an investment in its Ohio plant that will benefit the local plant by eliminating a “bottleneck” and making available ample product for the plant to use.

Odd Fellow and Rebekah Rehabilitation and Health Care Center and 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East have reached a labor deal after six months of negotiations. The pact covers member’s licensed practical nurses, certified nurse’s assistants, housekeeping, laundry and dietary workers. Only 34 of the 110 unionized workers voted on the proposed contract, 17 for and 17 against. The second vote rejected the contract by a margin of 31 to 28.

A one-day strike has been authorized for May 7 for union members at the Oddfellow and Rebekah Nursing home. Members of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East voted down the most recent contract that had been negotiated for six months by union representatives and management. The union represents 110 workers at the site.

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