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Western New York, June 2002

Business Expansions

New this Month

University at Buffalo (Erie County) A three-building research complex will start going up in the downtown medical corridor next year, as Buffalo’s bioinformatics center takes off with more than $100 million toward the high-tech center. At a recent news conference, Gov. Pataki announced that the state would provide $290 million for the project, with $110 million coming from this year budget. The federal government has promised $3.1 million. A third partner, the Hauptman-Woodward will receive separate funding to help build the third building. The partners plan to employ 500 workers, 250 of them new hires, when the building opens in three years.

Globe Metallurgical (Niagara County) plans to reopen its plant and bring back as many workers as possible. The company temporarily laid off 90 employees in December when it closed its plant.

General Motors (Erie County) Tonawanda plant is under-going a $500 million expansion that’s expected to ensure the site’s viability with production of a new engine.

Rich Products (Erie County) recently unveiled its new customer service and logistics center where 100 employees process 120,000 food orders a year. The office is part of $7 million in renovations the company has made during the last year and expects to add 250 local jobs by 2005.

Summit Wellness Center (Niagara County) a $50 million health care and housing complex that will provide affordable living and medical facilities for senior citizens will be constructed beginning in August. The center will bring to the area 60 high-paying medical jobs and should be completed next spring.

UPDATE: Casino (Erie & Niagara Counties) The Seneca Nation’s claim to Grand Island was recently dismissed by a US district Judge who also questioned whether the Niagara Frontier was really the Seneca’s aboriginal land. At issue is an arcane provision in the law that Congress passed in 1990, renewing land leases in the Seneca-owned City of Salamanca. That provision allows the tribe to buy “lands within its aboriginal area in the state or situated within or near proximity to reservation land.” The Seneca’s plan to rely on that provision to buy land for casinos in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

Business Contractions

New this Month

UPDATE: Adelphia Communications (Erie County) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 25, after completing details of a $1.5 billion loan package that will allow it to continue operating. The bankruptcy shield from creditors means Adelphia can continue paying wages and benefits while it stays on the air and upgrades cable systems.

M. Wile & Co., (Erie County) plans to lay off about 50 office staffers beginning this summer. The company currently employs about 350 production workers.

Saint-Gobain Abrasives (Niagara County) will shut down in August putting 369 employees out of work. The plant in Niagara Falls was a former Carborundum Co. site. The company makes products for the abrasive industry. The work forces at Saint-Gobain’s other plants in the region were not affected by the announcement, as they are involved in different market segments.

UPDATE: Buffalo Schools (Erie County) About 300 to 350 Buffalo teachers and administrators, in addition to 100 to 160 non-instructional workers, have filed to take part in an early-retirement incentive, which could avoid teacher layoffs next school year if 118 high school teachers and 56 elementary school teachers accept the offer. The early-retirement incentives will also affect schools on Grand Island and Lackawanna with 36 teachers retiring at both school and 38 in Williamsville, 32 of which are eligible for the incentive, will retire.

Chautauqua Hardware (Chautauqua County) a manufacturer of brass fittings for the furniture industry, will lay off about 80 to 85 workers in an apparent consolidation move. In July 50 workers will be laid off and another 30 to 35 in August.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

UPDATE: New Era Cap Co. Striking workers at New Era Cap Co.’s Derby (Erie County) plant will vote again today on the same contract that they rejected three days ago. The Members of CWA Local 14177 rejected the deal by 99-73, surprising union leaders who had expected an end to the 11-month labor dispute. The workers agreed on another vote on the proposed four-year deal following a meeting with union leaders.


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