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Tonawanda GM plant shuttered by Japanese quake parts shortage

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General Motors is taking a break at a Buffalo area plant.

General Motors is idling its engine plant in Tonawanda because of the supply chain broken by the Japanese earthquake.  Dee-Ann Durbin reports for AP that the news follows a shutdown at a Louisiana plant last week:

GM doesn't know when production will resume at either plant. This latest shutdown at GM shows how interdependent the world's carmakers have become. GM last week became the first U.S.-based car company to say it would suspend production because of Japanese parts shortages. Toyota and Subaru are scaling back production at U.S. plants because they depend on imports from Japan, whose car industry was hobbled March 11 after that nation's earthquake and tsunami. Even though damage at Japanese auto plants was limited, uncertainty lingers. Factories are unlikely to return to full production for months, hindered by unreliable power supplies and extensive damage to some parts suppliers. GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said Tonawanda has the parts it needs to make the engines, but it's not producing them because Shreveport doesn't need them.

Lockheed Martin

Cuts to a federal radar program could mean layoffs at Lockheed Martin, reports Dave Tobin at the Post-Standard:

Lockheed’s MS2 division employs 14,500 across the U.S. In February, the Department of Defense said it would no longer fund MEADS, a radar system partially developed and tested in Salina. The Medium Extended Air Defense System is a NATO-managed development program to replace Patriot systems in the U.S. and Germany, and the Nike Hercules missile defense system in Italy.

Sites in Salina and Owego could be affected, reports Kevin Tampone at the Greater Binghamton Business Journal:

The company doesn't have details on the cuts by site yet, but a spokesman for the Lockheed facility in Salina expected some reductions there. The Salina and Owego plants are both part of Lockheed's Mission Systems and Sensors (MS2) unit. Both sites were hit with job cuts last year. Salina lost 53 jobs and Owego 104 in a nationwide cut of 1,200 positions from MS2. "The changes affecting our industry reflect the challenging economic environment and budget constraints on our military customers that have resulted in revised acquisition strategies and scaled back support for some programs," Troy Scully, a Lockheed spokesman based in Salina, said in an email. "As a result, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors has notified employees it plans to eliminate 350 jobs, largely in its engineering pool, in May."

That news comes as a Silicon Valley plant signs a deal with the state for $1.5 million in state incentives to come to New York - to be closer to Lockheed Martin's radar development facility.

Corning

Larry Wilson writes for the Elmira Star-Gazette that Corning will feel aftershocks from the Japanese earthquakes for months or even years:

What it can't avoid, however, is the near-death blow to the already weak Japanese economy. Corning, which has glass factories in Shizuoka and Sakai City, will face the same impediments as other manufacturers in Japan. Transportation will become more difficult. Rolling blackouts have the potential to interrupt electrical service, a critical factor in the melting of glass. The crisis at Japan's nuclear plants increases the uncertainty of power supplies. Obtaining raw materials will become a challenge.

Erie County IDA

A firm that makes oil drilling machines is getting a $3 million break on property, sales and mortgage taxes from Erie County's Industrial Development Agency, reports David Robinson at the Buffalo News:

Derrick Corp. is planning a $19.5 million project that is expected to create 36 new jobs over the next two years by building a 124,000-square-foot addition to its factory at 2185 Walden Ave. The project will expand Derrick’s manufacturing capacity at a 230,000- square-foot site that has been its home since 1954. Derrick’s high-frequency vibrating machines and screens can be used to filter out particles as small as 10 microns in width by customers, primarily in the oil and gas industry and the mining industry. The company, which currently has 363 full-time employees and 76 part-time workers, also plans to purchase $7 million in new equipment as part of the expansion.

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