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Western New York, March 2010

Business Expansions

New this Month

Seneca Gaming Corp. is set to open its expanded Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo (Erie County). Officials were on hand March 16th at the gaming venue to take the wraps off of its $9 million expansion that virtually doubled the number of slot machines at the casino. The expansion is the second since the interim casino opening in July 2007. Seneca Gaming still has plans to transform the casino into a permanent operation. Work on the $333 million project, which has been stalled since August 2008, is expected to restart once the nation’s economy rebounds.

Petri Baking Co. has cleared another hurdle in its quest to build a warehouse near its operations in the village of Silver Creek. The company, which employs 256 full-time workers, said that the warehouse is essential to grow the business. (Chautauqua County) Petri hopes to start the project in the summer, with a potential to have the new warehouse ready for products by late fall.

Gaymar Industries Inc. is closing its facility in Kitchener Ontario and consolidating its manufacturing and distribution operations to Orchard Park. (Erie County). The operations in the Kitchener plant will be phased out by June 30. The actual net increase in jobs in Orchard Park will be determined in the coming weeks, once the transition is underway. Gaymar has about 200 full –time employees in Western New York.

K-Technologies, an electronic and electromechanical manufacturing company, recently expanded its operations in Hamburg. (Erie County) The company moved from a 5,400 square-foot space to a building that is 54,000 square-feet. The company currently employs 47 workers and plans to add about 32 in the next five years, including engineers, assemblers and testers.

Fidelis Care has chosen an Amherst (Erie County) site, pending some final decisions and municipal approvals, for an expanded regional office that could see the health insurance company increase its local employment by nearly 30 percent.

Buffalo Filter is planning to build a new factory in Lancaster (Erie County) that would allow the company to consolidate two leased facilities in Amherst into a single plant nearly twice as large. The company currently has 65 full-time employees and expects to add as many as 30 additional workers within three years.

General Motors Co. officials have confirmed the Town of Tonawanda plant is being considered for a new line of eco-friendly V-6 and V-8 engines, that if produced locally could see several more auto workers called back to work at the facility. The new line means that at least 425 workers will be recalled at the plant, giving more than 1,000 employees. Several other GM plants are also vying for the same line. There is no specific date for when or if GM decides to build the engines.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Cameron Compressors in Cheektowaga (Erie County) is laying off people across various departments. The facility, which manufactures air compressors, employs about 750 people. The exact number of layoffs has not been confirmed and the company hopes that they will be able to call back the employees when business picks up.

HealthNow New York is cutting another 30 jobs in Buffalo (Erie County) as part of what officials call an ongoing “re-engineering” of the health insurer to be more efficient and responsive, while reducing costs. All of the affected employees are represented by Local 212 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

The Lake Shore Central School Board voted unanimously to close two of the district’s five elementary schools because of declining enrollment and a looming economic crisis. Brant Elementary in Brant, (Erie County) will close this fall and W.T. Hoag Elementary in Angola (Erie County) will close the following year. Students will be shifted to the remaining schools in the district.

The Newfane School District (Niagara County) will cut 32 full-and part-time positions, along with other spending reductions for next school year and still have a deficit. District leaders are proposing the cuts in response to facing a loss of $1.9 million in state aid. The School Board needs to finalize a tentative budget by April 23.

The Buffalo Public Schools will be forced to lay off 680 staff members-or nearly 10 percent of its work force-if Gov. David Paterson’s proposed state aid cuts are enacted.

Dresser-Rand, an Olean (Cattaraugus County) turbine maker, has laid off 39 employees. The layoffs will begin March 22nd and will run indefinitely.

Tops Markets will close a recently acquired Quality Markets store in Lakewood (Chautauqua County) on April 18th.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

The West Seneca School Board approved a three-year contract extension with its teachers union. The agreement would mitigate the 30 to 50 job cuts that school officials indicated three weeks ago were likely to accompany the 2010-11 budget and its $5.9 million cut in state aid. Officials will know how many positions will be in jeopardy under the adopted budget in mid-April.

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