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Western New York, February 2007

Business Expansions

New this Month
Three Lancaster (Niagara County) industrial manufacturers will be expanding their operations. Pfannenberg Inc. will more than double its size and employment this spring as it moves into new headquarters. Pfannenberg produces industrial-strength fans and air-cooling systems used by heavy manufacturers. The company’s current landlord Airtek Inc., which manufactures drying and filtration equipment used in compressed-air machinery, will undergo its own expansion by taking over the 25,000-square-feet it has leased to Pfannenberg for the past decade. Combined, the two expansions will add about 60 jobs. Sealing Devices Inc. growth is fueled by new contracts to make gaskets and O-rings for the U.S. Military and private sector firms, adding square footage by nearly 25 percent and adding at least 30 workers.

Citigroup formally announced the plans for a new operations center in Amherst’s (Erie County) CrossPoint Business Park, February 21. The bank will occupy a proposed new 156,000-square-foot; three-story building to be built next door to another facility that Citigroup began occupying late last year. The new operations center is expected to bring more than 900 additional jobs to Western New York. This is the second major expansion in the area for Citigroup.

Business Contractions

New this Month

A State Supreme Court justice on February 2 has upheld the Berger Commissions decision to close St. Joseph’s Hospital in Cheektowaga (Erie County) as part of a statewide reorganization of hospitals that was announced in November 2006. The Catholic Health System, which operates the hospital, said it will appeal the decision to an appellate court. The closing would affect about 800 employees.

M&T Bank Corp. is sending about 150 back-office jobs to a company in India in the banks' second such move in recent months. The Buffalo (Erie County) based banking company will complete the job shift by the end of the year.

Gibralter Industries is closing its processed metals plant in Tonawanda, (Erie County) eliminating as many as 90 local jobs. The company has already shifted some of the work from the plant to the factory in Cheektowaga and will divide the remaining business between that facility and one in Ohio over the next few months.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Union Firefighters in Buffalo (Erie County) turned down a five-year tentative contract on February 11. Under the deal, firefighters would have received a 33 percent raise by 2011, but cut their health insurance, vacation and overtime benefits. Buffalo firefighters have not had a raise in five years when a wage freeze was put in place by the city. The union still has ongoing lawsuits with the city, including one that could result in firefighters receiving back pay for 2002 and 2003.

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