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Western New York, February 2015

Business Expansions

New this Month

California-based Landmark Health, a company that provides home health-care services on behalf of its physician clients, is opening an office in the Larkin Center of Commerce in downtown Buffalo (Erie County). Landmark Medical New York will provide coordinated follow-up care for patients with chronic conditions in the patients’ homes outside of regular clinic hours. The Buffalo office will currently employ 30 people and expects to employ 40 by the end of the year.

LED Spirit is opening an assembly operation in downtown Buffalo’s Gateway Building. The company, which currently has five employees, was recently accepted into the Start-Up NY tax breaks program. LED spirit has developed a proprietary LED lighting technology that doesn’t require a circuit board, making it more efficient and longer lasting. The company is currently in negotiations for several federal contracts and with the growth of the contracts and manufacturing space, about 25 people will be hired to assemble the lights.

Home improvement retail giant The Home Depot plans to hire about 40 people at each of the region’s eight locations. In total, the retailer will hire 375 new employees in permanent and part-time postions, including sales, cashing, operations and online order fulfillment.

Excelsior Orthopaedics is planning a $9 million expansion on its Amherst (Erie County) campus to build a new and larger home for its Buffalo Surgery Center. The new building would house clinical and surgical services in orthopedics, pain management and opthamology. The surgery center would add about 20 employees to its current 30 person workforce and add gastroenterology services as part of its move. Developers hope to receive the required approvals by the end of June and begin construction by July. Work on the project would take approximately six months to complete.

An Internationally known restaurant and attraction, Rainforest Café is expected to open this spring in downtown Niagara Falls (Niagara County). Job fairs are being scheduled for the end of the March and April to hire about 200 employees for the new restaurant with a targeted opening at the end of May.

Despite the harsh weather conditions, SolarCity Corp. remains on target in its plans to build the largest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere in Buffalo (Erie County). Construction of the facility is underway—the piles are almost complete, the foundation has been poured and erection of the steel structure is expected to begin over the next few weeks. The company plans to begin installing equipment in early 2016 and reach full annualized capacity of producing 1 GW solar panels in early 2017. SolarCity expects to create as many as 3,000 jobs in Western New York over the next ten years.

LongHorn Steakhouse has opened its third area restaurant in Niagara Falls (Niagara County). The restaurant employs 100 full and part-time workers/

Seneca Resorts and Casinos hosted two table games dealer job fairs to fill a total of 65 part-time positions at its resorts in Salamanca (Cattaraugus County) and Niagara Falls (Niagara County). Seneca Allegany Resort in Salamanca will held its job fair on Wednesday, February 25th and Seneca Niagara Resort in Niagara Falls will be held on Saturday, February 28th. The two job fairs take place just ahead of a 10-week dealer training school that will begin in the area on March 9th.

Business Contractions

New this Month

ConAgra will be closing its Dunkirk (Chautauqua County) plant in May. The company announced it would be shutting down in 2012, shortly after buying the Carriage House plants. One of the largest employers in western New York, over 400 people will be out of work when the plant shuts its doors on May 24th. The plant owners cited economic reasons for the closure.

Electronics retailer RadioShack has filed bankruptcy and is closing 4,000 company- owned stores nationwide, including several in Western New York. Around 11 of the 23 local stores will be closed, while the remaining stores will be sold to Sprint. Each of those stores will operate normally throughout the restructuring process.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Members of the National Conference of Fireman and Oilers Local 266 ratified a new five-year deal on February 4th, ending walkout that involved about 130 workers altogether. Workers at RHI Monofrax in Falconer (Chautauqua County) including members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers, which also recently ratified a deal, walked out four months ago. The plant produces fusion cast refractories primarily used in the glass industry. The first of the workers returned to their jobs on February 9th.

Kaleida Health has announced a tentative agreement on a one-year wage re-opener with the three members of its collective bargaining agreement. Representatives of the unions, which include Communications Workers of America/AFL-CIO (CWA1168), 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE Local 17), indicated their support in a joint news release. The health-care system will boost wages to nearly 8,000 employees. The existing contract remains in effect until May 31, 2016.

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