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Business Expansions and Contractions, Long Island Region

Business Expansions and Openings

About 800 bus drivers and mechanics, now working for Nassau County's newly privatized bus system (many of them former MTA Long Island Bus employees), ratified a five-year contract with Veolia Transportation, the operator of Nassau Inter County Express (NICE) Bus, by an overwhelming margin.  Under the agreement, which takes effect immediately, Veolia will pay 80 percent of employees' health care premiums, contribute towards 401(k) retirement accounts for eligible employees and give them raises, ranging from 3-4 percent, in each of the 5 years of the contract.  (Newsday, January 10, 2012)

D'Addario & Co., a guitar-string maker based in Farmingdale (Suffolk County), says that as much as $4 million in work now done in plants in China may be brought back to Long Island in 2012.  In the past year, some $2 million in work was returned to the Island, helping to create about 20 more jobs. The company could add another 5 to 10 jobs this year.  D'Addario & Co., currently has about 800 employees.  The family owned manufacturer received $1.9 million in state tax credits in 2011 toward a $9 million expansion that calls for 50 people to be added to the payroll.  (newsday.com, January 4, 2012)

The Huntington Town Board (Suffolk County) has restored most of the arts funding cut from its 2012 budget, but refrained from rescinding budget cuts to social-service and youth organizations.  The board voted 3-1 to restore about $210,000 to organizations including the Huntington Arts Council, Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, and historical properties in Huntington, Northport and elsewhere in the town.   The restored funds come from an extra $3 million that the town has after health insurance costs, which had been estimated to go up by 18 percent, increased instead by 3 percent.  The town is using about $1 million of that surplus to avoid requiring employees to contribute 10 percent of their health care premium costs, a measure included in the 2012 budget.  (newsday.com, January 11, 2012) 

Board members, administrators and trustees in the Valley Stream Central High School District (Nassau County) have approved an initiative that aims to diversify the district's staff in order to better reflect the makeup of its student body.  A plan is before the board that, with the help of Nassau BOCES, would ensure a more racially diverse pool of applicants when there is an opening in the district.  BOCES offers Diversity Recruitment services to districts that are looking for qualified minority candidates when a job opening occurs.  BOCES holds a multicultural job fair in March and last year received more than 900 responses, a large number of which were from minorities.   Several districts in Nassau County use the BOCES program, including School District 30 in Valley Stream.  The board will formally vote on the issue at the Feb. 14 business meeting.  (Long Island Herald, January 11, 2012)  

(UPDATE) Canon U.S.A. broke ground on its new headquarters in May 2010, and the project is slated to be completed in early 2013.  At that time, the company will relocate 1,200 employees from its current Lake Success (Nassau County) facility to Melville (Suffolk County). The second phase, which has received preliminary Town of Huntington approvals, will commence a few years later.  The company has said that it aims to create 750 jobs within 10 years of opening.   (HalfHollowHills.Patch.com, January 18, 2012

Chesapeake Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Packaging of Hicksville (Nassau County) has expanded its production line by adding a large-format paper-folding machine, which can produce pamphlet inserts for prescription drug packages.  The Hicksville plant, which is part of an international company based in the UK, received a $175,000 state grant in 2008 and pledged to use the Empire State Development Corp. funding to help buy new equipment and to remain and grow on Long Island instead of moving to North Carolina.  (newsday.com, January 13, 2012) 

Sonic Drive-In plans to open a restaurant in East Meadow (Nassau County) late this year or in early 2013.  The 1950s-style chain is seeking authorization from the Hempstead Town board of appeals to install drive-through windows, outdoor dining and two dozen outdoor menu signs, and a variance for off-street parking at the site of the former Rita's Italian Ice near Hempstead Turnpike and East Meadow Avenue.  The company's first Long Island location opened in April in North Babylon (Suffolk County).  (newsday.com, January 22, 2012)

Southampton Town (Suffolk County) is considering requiring contractors on large-scale commercial building projects, such as unusually large drugstores or box stores, to have a certified apprenticeship program and to hire about one apprentice for every five journeymen workers.  The contractor would be required to procure training for the apprentices.  Many union halls, however, provide the training for free.  Brookhaven, Huntington, Oyster Bay and Long Beach have already passed laws to require the programs.  Other towns require the program on public construction only.  (newsday.com, January 23, 2012) 

BJ's Wholesale Club has opened its newest Long Island location at The Arches Circle in Deer Park (Suffolk County).  BJ's operates 39 stores in the New York metropolitan area.  (Long Island Business News, January 24, 2012)

Dollar Tree has signed a 10-year lease for 9,044-square-feet at the Jerusalem Avenue Shopping Center in Hicksville (Nassau County).  The discount retailer plans to open the new store in February, pending the completion of construction.  (Long Island Business News, January 23, 2012)

Melville (Suffolk County)-based Marchon Eyewear Inc. plans to create 55 jobs by reorganizing its headquarters and warehouses in Melville and opening an ophthalmologic laboratory.  Marchon has 528 workers in Suffolk, who earn, on average, $60,606 per year.  (newsday.com, January 27, 2012)

(UPDATE) Hauppauge (Suffolk County)-based InvaGen Pharmaceuticals Inc. closed on a deal to purchase a 16-acre property for its new research lab/manufacturing plant/packaging facility in Central Islip (Suffolk County).   InvaGen, which currently employs 330, pledged to hire 350 new employees for the facility in return for $6 million in state and town assistance over five years.  InvaGen pledges to hire 150 workers within the first two years.  Islip Town officials expect the construction phase to generate an additional 60 jobs.  (Newsday, January 27, 2012)

Business Contractions and Closings

The parent company of supermarket chain Waldbaum's will close six underperforming stores on Long Island, including one in Nassau County and five in Suffolk County.  It is not clear how many workers will lose their jobs.  Local 338 of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, United Food and Commercial Workers, represents about 300 workers at five of the six stores, about 65 of whom are full-time.  Workers at the other store are represented by UFCW, Local 342.  Local 338 is still negotiating a buyout agreement for its contract.  (Newsday, January 10, 2012)

New York State is suspending millions of dollars in grants to 10 school districts, including Roosevelt (Nassau County) that failed to agree with unions on an evaluation system for teachers and principals.  The deadline for the deals was Dec. 31.  The districts may request hearings to defend their plans.  The grants are an incentive to provide objective measures in evaluating teachers and principals that could eventually be used for promotion, retention, tenure and layoffs.  (Long Island Press, January 6, 2012)

The City of Long Beach (Nassau County), a popular destination during summer months, has declared a fiscal emergency.  Moody's downgraded the city to a credit rating of just above junk bond status.  Newly appointed City Manager Jack Schnirman said the city faces a $48 million debt, and that it will immediately stop spending money on overtime.  (Long Island Press, January 18, 2012)

Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC), the county's only publicly-funded hospital, is planning to create a nonprofit subsidiary that would allow it to hire nonunion employees, but the union representing 3,400 NUMC employees, the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), said it will challenge the move.  The East Meadow hospital hopes to establish a nonprofit entity known as NuHealth Services Corp., which would co-run the facility with the existing public benefit corporation, the Nassau Health Care Corp.  The new entity would allow the hospital to hire private-sector, nonunion employees, who would not receive the same contractual health care and pension benefits afforded to hospital CSEA employees.  (newsday.com, January 18, 2012) 

Hauppauge (Suffolk County)-based Standard Microsystems (SMSC) expects to cut about 50 jobs worldwide over the next two months, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday.  SMSC did not say how many of those jobs are on Long Island, and a spokeswoman did not immediately return requests for comment.  SMSC makes integrated circuits and USB and Ethernet controllers for computers, and employs about 1,000 people globally.  (newsday.com, January 19, 2012)

As part of a consolidation of Northeast claims operations, State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. is gradually moving more than 200 jobs off Long Island, primarily to Ballston Spa, near Saratoga Springs, where the firm already has more than 1,000 employees.  Over the next year and a half State Farm plans to close its Melville (Suffolk County) office, which employs about 110, and cut another 93 jobs from its New Hyde Park (Nassau County) office.  Layoffs will take place on February 29, 2012, October 31, 2012, March 29, 2013 and September 30, 2013.  The company will maintain about 200 jobs on Long Island after the consolidation.  Most affected employees are being offered jobs on Long Island or other locations in the Northeast.  The shift does not affect State Farm's 123 agent offices in the metropolitan New York area.  (Long Island Business News, January 20, 2012) 

In the Baldwin School District (Nassau County), a task force recommended that two elementary schools, the Shubert School and either the Steele or Milburn School be closed in order to bridge a budget shortfall.  Shubert's enrollment is about 35 percent of capacity, and it needs expensive upgrades.  Most of the other six elementary schools in the district, including Milburn and Steele, are at about 50 percent capacity.  The board will announce its decisions on school closings and other program or staff cuts at a Feb. 8 school board meeting and adopt the final budget on Feb. 15.  (newsday.com, January 26, 2012) 

Middle Country (Suffolk County) school officials are deliberating various budget options, including an "unlikely, worst case scenario" of $10.3 million in reductions, including laying off 75-plus staff members, reducing full-day kindergarten to half-day kindergarten, and eliminating sports and extracurricular activities.  (newsday.com, January 26, 2012

The Nassau County Police Department will turn four of its eight police precincts into community policing centers.  The plan would reportedly save the county $20 million, by eliminating more than 100 civilian desk jobs and cutting police overtime, officials said.  In addition, 48 police officers would be reassigned from desk jobs to Problem Oriented Police positions.  (newsday.com, January 30, 2012)

Hauppauge (Suffolk County)-based Innovative Stone has filed paperwork with the NY State Labor Department to lay off 47 employees in its custom residential division.  Some employees have already been offered positions within the company's commercial division.  Sixty employees will remain after the layoffs, scheduled for April 20, take effect.  (Long Island Business News, January 27, 2012)

Gap Inc. has closed its New Hyde Park (Nassau County) store, a fixture in the Lake Success Shopping Center for 30 years.  Gap said it is trying to place employees who want to stay with the company in open positions at other Gap locations or at its other brands.  (newsday.com, January 25, 2012)

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