Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Western New York, August 2005

Business Expansions

New this Month

Greatbatch Inc., the Clarence (Erie County) medical battery and components maker, formally opened its new 120,000-square-foot plant in Alden, praising the new facility for its automation and the efficiency that will come from combining all of the company’s battery and capacitor manufacturing operations in a single facility. The plant currently employs about 350 people, mostly in the battery making operations. Once the capacitor manufacturing is shifted there, employment is expected to jump to about 500 by the end of this year.

The Buffalo Public Schools Reconstructions Program began its second phase on August 2 with a ceremony at Waterfront Elementary School in Buffalo (Erie County). Phase two includes 13 schools and will be completed in approximately two and a half years.

Three food-processing companies are working on expansions or renovations for their plants. Goya Foods in Angola (Erie County), Mayer Bros. Apple Products Inc. in West Seneca (Erie County), and General Mills in Buffalo (Erie County) have projects in the works. The deals could bring a combined investment of more than $15 million, and the retention of hundreds of workers.

Invitrogen received tax breaks worth nearly $450,000 from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to help the manufacturer of cell culture products renovate its Grand Island (Erie County) factory to increase capacity. The $5.2 million renovation project will allow them to expand the capacity of its existing product lines and give the company the ability to make others. The renovation work is exected to create 36 new jobs over the next two years, boosting the company’s employment from 456 to 492 employees.

Fuddruckers Restaurant, an independently owned and operated franchise chain, will open a new store in Cheektowaga (Erie County) on August 29th. The owners have a three-store deal for Western New York (one already open in Amherst) and expect to open another store next year. The new store will have close to 95 employees.

Northstar Companies will relocate to its larger, temporary office in Amherst (Erie County). The collections firm, which currently employs 50 people, is planning to construct a new 150,000-square-foot headquarters in Cheektowaga and grow employment to 300 by year’s end.

Budwey’s Supermarket will open a store in North Buffalo (Erie County) on August 21, employing 225 people. Budwey’s is one of several smaller-scale stores that have opened in the Western New York region. Latina’s which operates Italian specialty stores, has a supermarket in Buffalo and plans to open a store in Clarence and one in Orchard Park.

Estes Express Lines plans to move its local operations into Hamburg (Erie County) bringing an expected 102 jobs to the Ravenwood North Industrial park. The Virginia-based trucking firm is completing a deal to buy USF Holland’s former trucking terminal. The company currently operates a terminal in Tonawanda.

Hundreds of workers who were laid off weeks ago at General Motors Corp.’s Town of Tonawanda (Erie County) engine plant have been recalled a month earlier than expected. Brisk sales of GM vehicles that use Tonawanda-made engines as basic or optional equipment were a major reason for recalling 343 of the 500 employees who volunteered for the indefinite layoffs. The remaining 157 temporarily furloughed workers might be recalled, depending on the market and retirements.

Overturning a Pentagon recommendation, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission voted unanimously on August 26, to keep the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (Niagara County) open. 800 full-time and 1,500 part-time jobs at the base have been saved.

Contract Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has completed its purchase of the Bristol Myers Squibb plant in Buffalo (Erie County). The Buffalo plant makes and packages prescription and over the counter pharmaceutical products. The new buyers will maintain the site’s 200 workers and eventually create more jobs.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Four Erie County Libraries two in the Town of Tonawanda and two in Cheektowaga are permanently shutting their branches. The Greenhaven branch (Tonawanda) and the South Cheektowaga branches are scheduled for closing on October 1. The Brighton Branch (Tonawanda) and the North Cheektowaga branches are scheduled for closing on November 1. All four libraries were among the 20 that have been targeted by the Library Board to be closed next year. Because of a lack of funding, both towns and their Library Boards agreed to close their branches sooner, and not wait until next year. The county Library Board is expected to make a final decision on which of the other libraries will not be funded next year on September 1.

Delphi Corp.’s 4,000 worker plant in Niagara County could face deep job cuts or be put up for sale as early as this fall, when the company’s new chief pushes a restructuring plan to compensate for losses at the auto components maker. One solution, to avoid bankruptcy, is to push thousands of Delphi workers out the door with the help of a severance bonus. Then Delphi could hire new workers at a lower wage, which has already been approved by the UAW. If a large-scale buyout doesn’t work, bankruptcy court looms.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

UPDATE: SEIU Local 1199, which represents about 550 RNs, have reached an agreement with Kaleida Health, after rejecting a proposal on July 12. Nineteen other groups, representing 7,000 people in the five-hospital system, had already approved the agreement last month.

Members of UFCW Local 1 at a Jamestown warehouse owned by Quality Markets’ parent company in Jamestown (Chautauqua County) have returned to their jobs, ending a strike that lasted over two weeks. Union members voted to accept an offer that Penn Traffic made on August 22. Their contract had expired in January 2004 and efforts to reach a new contract were put on hold while Penn Traffic was in bankruptcy. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2003, and emerged last year.

The continuing health insurance dispute between the Buffalo Teachers Federation (Erie County) and the Buffalo Board of Education has caused the layoff of 114 Buffalo teachers and assistant principals. The layoffs cannot be rescinded until the district’s unions agree to health insurance from one carrier, rather than three. The district is consolidating health insurance coverage on September 1, but is proceeding with the layoffs and other cuts to build a cash cushion in case that move is overturned in arbitration hearings.

Thanks for the feedback! It will help us improve your experience.