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Western New York, February 2009

Business Expansions

New this Month

A new debt collection agency, Greystone Alliance LLC will be opening in Cheektowaga (Erie County) in March. The new company has bought the facility and physical assets of Elite Recovery Services, a debt collector that abruptly shut down in December. 20 employees, some of which were employed by Elite have been hired. Ultimately, plans call for growing the company to 100 employees within 12 months, and to 200 after the second year.

Kohl’s Department Store held a job fair to fill 150 full-and-part-time jobs at the retailer’s store on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo (Erie County). New hires will be for jobs such as customer service, department service, cashiers, stocking, truck unloading, housekeeping and evening signage/pricing updates.

Teletech in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) is hiring approximately 300 people for temporary customer service positions. New employees will provide inbound customer support for the DTV transition for one to two weeks.

PriceRite Grocery will open its second Buffalo (Erie County) supermarket this summer in a former Tops supermarket location. The discount food seller is currently overhauling another former supermarket in Buffalo that is slated to open this spring. The new markets are expected to employ about 100 full and part time employees at each location.

First Niagara Financial Group is expanding in the Larkin at Exchange Building downtown Buffalo (Erie County), adding space to its existing office with plans to bring up to 100 new jobs there.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Two area Montana’s Cookhouse restaurants have closed. The restaurants located in Orchard Park and Tonawanda (Erie County) closed last Saturday (January 31) and employed a total of 158 people.

General Motor’s Corp. is planning to cut another 10,000 salaried jobs worldwide this year. The impact on GM’s engine plant in the Town of Tonawanda, (Erie County) which has 201 salaried workers, is not yet known. The majority of the cuts are expected to take place by May 1st.

122 workers at the Philadelphia Furniture Making Co. in Salamanca (Cattaraugus County) are dealing with layoffs and weeks of unpaid work. The company listed economic reasons for the “warn notice” it file with the NYS Department of Labor on January 30th.

An independently-owned grocery store in East Aurora (Erie County) is closing March 1st. Jubilee Food Store, which has been in business for the past 50 years, has seen sales plummet when fuel costs skyrocketed this past summer. The store employs 60 workers.

Ingram Micro has eliminated 100 jobs at its Amherst (Erie County) sales center as the technology wholesaler deals with the slowing economy. The jobs cuts at its office are part of a broader plan that eliminated 300 jobs from the company’s North American operations.

Sysco Corp. announced that is Falconer (Chautauqua County) locations will be closed within 60 days as the company consolidates its Falconer service territory into the service territories of Sysco branches near Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The closure will eliminate about half of the 240 jobs that were at the location.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

The United Auto Workers President urged union members to vote for contract concessions to Ford Motor Co., saying the automaker can’t survive in the long term without major restructuring. He recommended to the 42,000 hourly Ford workers to vote for the concessions that include: overtime is paid only after a 40-hour week. Previously workers got time-and-a-half wages if the worked more than eight hours per shift. Supplemental pay will be seniority-based and will have time limits if a worker is laid off, and the “jobs bank’ in which laid off workers get most of their pay will be suspended. The union was able to preserve base pay, keep current health benefits and pensions and prevent further plant closures. But, the union has already agreed to give up cost-of-living raises, cash bonuses, and the company will offer another round of buyout and early retirement incentives to shed more workers Ford’s stamping plant in Hamburg (Erie County) produces stamped parts for vehicles, and has 770 hourly and 98 salaried employees.

Delphi Corp., the bankrupt auto-parts maker, won permission to cancel healthcare benefits for 15,000 retired salaried workers. The termination of benefits takes effect April 1. The number of salaried retirees in Buffalo Niagara is not available at this time. A group of salaried retires said it plans to appeal the ruling.

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