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Western New York, April 2010

Business Expansions

New this Month

A venture called Galvstar LLC wants to return jobs and manufacturing to the dormant American Axle & Manufacturing plant on the city of Buffalo’s (Erie County) East Side. The business would lease part of the plant and would employ 50 people within the first year. Galvstar’s principals have secured North American patents for the specialized product the company would make and would not compete with large, integrated mills. They also indicate that the product is currently not made in the U.S. but is imported here. The work force could increase significantly as the business grows and diversifies.

The Seneca Gaming Corporation hosted a job fair on April 7th, at the Seneca Niagara Events Center in Niagara Falls (Niagara County). More than 40 positions, including spa staff, cooks, food servers, cleaning staff and security are available at the Seneca’s three casinos.

Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create 85 new jobs at the local Veterans Affairs Services in Western New York. Hiring the additional workers will provide better services at the local VA division in processing claims.

Martin’s Fantasy Island theme park held its annual job fair on April 17th. The park has 400 seasonal jobs to fill for the upcoming season.

Cummins Inc. in Jamestown (Chautauqua County) is making progress in bringing back workers from temporary layoff at its production plant. About 140 of the 440 employees who took voluntary leave from the plant earlier this year due to an anticipated drop in demand for products, have returned to work. An additional 30 workers will be back by May 1. About 1,000 people are presently working at the plant. The total workforce will rise to about 1,300 when all the workers on leave have returned, possibly sometime in the third quarter of this year.

General Motors Tonawanda (Erie County) engine plant is investing $400 million into its plant to produce a new V-8 engine. This is the second major investment the plant has secured in a year. The engine plant plans to add 415 jobs and retain 300 others as a result of winning the engine line. Currently the plant has 664 hourly workers and an additional 219 on layoff.

The federal government is helping a southern tier hospital rebuild after closing last summer after severe flooding. Tri-County Memorial Hospital in Gowanda (Chautauqua County) will receive $18.5 million for the relocation and rebuilding of the hospital. The funding will also support the re-establishment of inpatient chemical dependency services at the Lake Shore Hospital Campus.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Tonawanda City Schools (Erie County) is considering laying off dozens of staff members to compensate for a million-dollar budget gap from a cut in state funding. The large gap in the budget calls for laying off the equivalent of 33.5 full-time positions.

Orchard Park Central School district plans to eliminate a total of 21 positions, including two administrative posts and 8.5 teaching positions, if voters approve the new budget on May 18th.

An Amherst (Erie County) mortgage servicing company is closing down June 30th after losing KeyBank, the company’s largest client. SecoLink Settlement Services will lay off all 62 workers at its facility. The phased layoffs began March 12th and will continue through the end of June.

Rich Products announced it will be closing its Niagara Street manufacturing plant in Buffalo (Erie County) and shifting that work to Ohio. The plant employs 31 people. The closing does not affect the company’s 600 Job World headquarters located across the street from the plant.

Around 25 Wellsville Central School (Allegany County) employees, including about a dozen teachers, may lose their jobs if the school board decides on proposed cuts. The district is facing cutting the positions or raising taxes as a way to deal with the expected loss in state aid for the coming school year.

The Lancaster School Board voted unanimously to close an elementary school at the end of the current school year as one way to deal with an expected loss in state aid. Central Avenue Elementary School (Erie County) students will be reassigned to one of the three remaining schools.

Buffalo City School officials outlined a ‘worst-case scenario’ budget for the next school year that would cut the jobs of 200 teachers, 185 teacher’s aides, 15 administrators and 300 bus aides. The cuts, designed to close a $34 million budget gap, would increase class sizes, reduce school maintenance and repair, and shrink the school system’s payroll. The deficit could be eliminated if the unions agreed to $19 million in givebacks.

Mattel may cut more jobs at the Fisher-Price plant in East Aurora (Erie County). The parent company will be outsourcing the company’s information technology work to an Indian company. The number of employees affected is not known at this time.

The University at Buffalo (Erie County) announced that eligible faculty and staff are being offered buy-outs to leave their positions as the university attempts to cope with millions of dollars in state budget cuts. Officials at the University expect a couple of hundred faculty and staff members to show interest in the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program.

Hamburg Schools will cut more than a dozen teachers and teacher’s aide positions under a new $55 million budget proposed for the 2010-2011 school year. The district faced having to lay off 50 employees, but attempted a number of measures to avoid a layoff of that magnitude, including a retirement incentive.

About 27 Buffalo News employees have opted for early retirement in the latest round of buyouts at the Buffalo (Erie County) paper. This is the third round of buyouts offered to employees since the fall of 2008.

HSBC Mortgage Corp. Is slashing 80 jobs at its Depew (Erie County) headquarters and operations facility in a cost-cutting move. The company is eliminating a number of mortgage loan operations roles to enhance operational efficiency. A little more than 1,000 people are employed at the mortgage facility.

Steuben Foods executives are warning that the Elma (Erie County) food processor could scrap a $52 million expansion that could create as many as 150 jobs unless the New York Power Authority agrees to a longer term contract for low-cost electricity than it currently is offering. The company, which has received low-cost power from the Power Authority for more than 25 years, is considering a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its factory that would boost its capacity by 50 percent. The company currently employs nearly 500.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

55 bus drivers and aides at First Student, a transportation system serving the East Aurora (Erie County) school district, joined Teamsters Local 264. The Teamsters represent 26,000 First Student workers around the country.

More than 100 workers at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. in North Tonawanda (Niagara County) voted to join the United Steel Workers Union. (April 13, 2010-The buffalo news)

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