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Western New York, December 2006

Business Expansions

New this Month

The New York Power Authority has approved low-cost hydropower for New York Tungstenin Depew (Erie County) creating 60 new jobs at its manufacturing plant.

Seneca Allegany officials held the grand opening of the new permanent Seneca Allegany Casinoin Salamanca (Cattaraugus County) on December 28th. The new casino will have more than 68,000 square feet of gaming space, 2,200 slot machines and 45 gaming tables. Ground was broken in October 2005 for the $160 million permanent casino and 11-story hotel. The hotel is expected to be completed March 31, 2007.

The Walden Galleria Mallis undergoing an $80 million redevelopment to add upscale restaurants and stores, as well as more entertainment to the Cheektowaga (Erie County) mall. The expansion is scheduled to be finished in late May or early June 2007, that will include six new restaurants and more than a dozen stores, adding about 3,000 jobs at the mall.

Air Preheater Co.plans to add 75 jobs next year as part of a $15 million expansion of its plant in Friendship (Allegany County). The expansion will add 44,000 square feet of factory space. The company is preparing to add skilled jobs including welders and machinists as well as administrative staff.

Merchants Groupand its prospective new owner have agreed to sell the renewal rights to almost all of its directly written policies to Merchants Mutual Insurance Co. in a deal that will help preserve Mutual’s 200 jobs in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Nearly 600 workers at American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.have opted to take severance bonuses and leave their jobs. The manufacturer employs about 2,000 people at its three area plants in Buffalo, Cheektowaga and the Town of Tonawanda (Erie County). About 1,750 are United Auto Workers members eligible for the incentives that were announced in October of this year.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Erie County Medical Centerannounced a tentative agreement with its 600 nurses on work rule changes to make the hospital more competitive. The proposed deal met a December 15 deadline for the hospital to obtain county funds to pay for concessions from the three unions that represent the 2,500 employees at the hospital. If approved, the nurses will receive a pay raise in 2007 and cash payments based on hours worked.

United Steelworkersmembers of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. approved a new labor contract on December 28th, putting an end to a three month strike. The three-year agreement includes plans to close a Texas tire factory and creates a $1 billion health care fund for retirees. The contract also creates a wage range of $13 per hour to $24 per hour, a cut in starting pay for new employees but a protection of pay for current workers. Steelworkers at the Town of Tonawanda (Erie County) plant will return to their jobs on January 2nd.

The members of Niagara County’s largest union are set to cast their votes on a new agreement. The 850 members of CSEAare set to vote on January 3rd 2007.

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