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Western New York, June 2010

Business Expansions

New this Month

A New Jersey company will try to make a tire recycling operation work in the former Union Carbide plant in Niagara Falls (Niagara County), something its local owner could not do. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency accepted an application for a 15-year tax break from Green Tire Systems of New Jersey. The company would create about 50 new jobs.

Steuben Foods, an Elma (Erie County) food products company, will receive $1.82 million in tax breaks approved the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for a $46 million expansion of its plant. The project will add over 100 jobs to the current workforce of 466 at the plant over the next four years.

New Era Cap Co. will undergo a $1.3 million expansion of its Derby (Erie County) plant with help from a $239,000 abatement package approved by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency. The Derby plant, with nearly 300 workers, will be the company’s sole U.S. manufacturing plant as the company has shut down similar operations in Alabama. The company will add 25 workers initially, but could add more than 100 based on the company’s manufacturing projections.

Snyder Transportation has been granted a $500,000 loan from the Empire State Development Corporation to expand First Call Transportation, a Buffalo (Erie County) company that it acquired last fall. The transportation service business is investing $2 million in the deal to expand its fleet of vans and wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The acquisition is expected to retain First Calls’ 80 jobs and create 15 new jobs.

The Buffalo School Board (Erie County) approved an $805.9 million budget for 2010-11, which was amended to restore nine assistant principal and 41 teacher’s aide jobs proposed for elimination. As a result of a poor fiscal outlook and an uncertain state budget, school system administrators were challenged to cut 300 jobs from the payroll, including 145 teaching positions and 100 school bus aides.

General Motors Powertrain plant in Tonawanda (Erie County) is suspending its yearly two-week shutdown this summer. The auto giant traditionally idles its plants two weeks every year but is staying open to keep producing popular models.

The Seneca Nation of Indians marked the opening of its first development project off reservation land, as officials opened the $25.5 million Hickory Stick Golf Course in Lewiston (Niagara County). The golf course sits about 9 miles north of the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.

Construction on a $25 million building that will more than double the size of Fairgrounds Gaming in Hamburg (Erie County) will be completed in about two weeks. The new gambling center is scheduled for a “soft opening” on August 13, during the Erie County Fair. The grand opening will take place Labor Day weekend.

Norampac, a Division of Cascades Inc., a major Canadian manufacturer of containerboard products, will expand its operations in Niagara Falls. (Niagara County) The New York Power Authority allocated 10 megawatts of low-cost hydropower to construct a new state-of-the-art facility to make “green” containerboard. Norampac and its partners are considering an investment in a new facility adjacent to its current Niagara Falls facility. The project would result in over 100 new jobs.

Klein Steel Services Inc. of Tonawanda (Erie County) will expand its steel manufacturing business, with the allocation of low cost hydropower. The company’s expansion would include the creation of 37 new jobs and would secure the company’s 210 existing jobs.

International Imaging Materials Inc., a multinational company that develops, manufactures, and markets all types of printing, imaging, and marking products, is planning to invest $1.8 million to augment its customer base at its Amherst (Erie County) facility. The low-cost power the company will receive will result in the creation of 10 new jobs.

Business Contractions

New this Month

SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Co. is closing its Buffalo (Erie County) customer center located in the Walden Galleria. The closing, planned for September 1, will idle eight workers in the office.

Northrop Grunman Corp. will cut 54 jobs at its Amherst (Erie County) Systems division, following a drop in its engineering business and delays in some programs. The company designs and makes electronic warfare simulation products, specializing in radio frequency and infrared threat simulation. The layoffs will be effective June 30th.

The University at Buffalo has extended its Voluntary Separation Incentive Program until July 16th. As of June 3rd, roughly 300 UB employees had expressed interest in participating in the buy-out plan, one of the means being used by UB to reduce expenses. UB is one of the region’s largest employers, with some 10,000 workers.

A new federal law going into effect June 29th puts an end to using the U.S. Postal Service to mail cigarettes. The Seneca Indian Nation, whose member-owned businesses dominate the discount mail-order cigarette industry, said the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act) will gut its $100 million-per-year tobacco economy and eliminate 3,000 jobs held by workers in and outside of the tribe. Every cigarette business in the country is now subject to the law, except SenecaSmokeshop.com, that obtained a 14-dat reprieve in the order of a restraining order from a U.S. district Judge.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Erie County’s largest union rejected the County Executives offer, which would have eliminated two holidays and shorter summer hours in exchange for a 3% raise. Members of CSEA Local 815 voted down the proposal of June 8th.

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