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Western New York, October 2008

Business Expansions

New this Month

Carleton Technologies expects to hire 30 additional workers over the next year after its British-based company decided to close a sister plant in California and shift some of that work to Orchard Park (Erie County). The move will bring the weapons carriage and release business, adding a line of fighter jet bomb racks to the products made at the plant.

Friendship Dairies LLC has announced plans to expand its manufacturing operation, adding 40 jobs in the town of Friendship in Allegany County. The company, which produces “all natural” cultured and pasteurized dairy products, says it will increase the size of the plant by 27,000 square feet and renovate another 7,000. The plant currently employs 218 people.

UnitedHealth Group’s customer service and claims center in the Town of Tonawanda (Erie County) will add another 50 jobs over the next two months as the company was honored for customer satisfaction. That’s on top of the 100 jobs United has already added locally in the past year.

The City of Buffalo Fire Department (Erie County) expects at least 35 new firefighters to hit the streets in the late spring or early summer. The recruits are currently undergoing various tests and will likely being training early next year. The number of new hires could increase depending on how many firefighters retire in the coming months.

Delaware North, a privately held Buffalo (Erie County) company, will get the rights to develop and run the only legal casino in New York City. The company will build and run a casino with 4,500 slot machines at Aqueduct Racetrack, a contract that will add 1,200 jobs in Queens and another 50 at its Buffalo headquarters.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Ford Motor Co. has expanded its latest round of buyout offers to the Hamburg (Erie County) stamping plant. The offers were extended to all 850 hourly workers represented by UAW local 897 at the plant. The buyouts will be offered until October 31. The new round offers the same 10 packages as those presented earlier this year.

Gambling opponents may have landed a crucial punch in their battle to close down the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo (Erie County). After the Seneca Nation of Indians missed a crucial deadline last week in its bid to keep the casino open, a motion was filed Tuesday, October 21 in U.S. District Court in Buffalo to force the federal National Indian Gaming Commission to shut the casino down within five days and to hold the commission in contempt for not shutting it down sooner. The gaming commission has until Monday-October 27th to file an appeal with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Skretny’s previous orders.

Seneca Nation officials vow to continue operating their small, temporary casino in downtown Buffalo (Erie County) and eventually build a much bigger one. The Senecas insisted Wednesday-October 22nd, that they still hope to win approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission for a new gaming ordinance for Buffalo. They also expressed that within the next few days, the U.S. Justice Department will appeal an August 27th ruling that the Buffalo casino is operating illegally.

American Axle and Manufacturing, trying to reduce a stockpile of parts amid the slump in the auto industry, is scaling back production at its Cheektowaga (Erie County) machining plant for the next two weeks (Weeks of October 27 and November 3). The plant is running some production but it is limited to adjust the inventory levels. Twenty three hourly workers remain on the job, while about 36 hourly workers are on temporary layoff at the site.

As many as 150 employees at the Dunlop plant in North Tonawanda (Erie County) may be facing layoffs. Production cuts will cost jobs on two of the production lines, reflective of the economy in general and declining sales in the auto industry. The company will start by offering buyout packages and then begin layoff of December 1st if necessary.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Unionized workers at ArcelorMittal plants in the U.S., including one in Lackawanna (Erie County), have ratified a four-year deal with the world’s largest steel producer. Locally, the galvanized steel mill employs 217 hourly workers represented by USW Local 2604.

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