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AREA LOSING ONE COMPANY WHILE ANOTHER SHIFTS WORK HERE ITT AUTOMOTIVE ADDING 100 JOBS FROM ONTARIO

Union employees at ITT Automotive's Town of Amherst operation have overwhelmingly approved a four-year contract, paving the way for the plant to gain 100 new jobs.

The contract between the 86 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local 447, and the maker of automotive brake components was approved by an 85 percent to 15 percent margin, said Robert Eglof, the local's chief steward.

"We were able to introduce gain sharing into this contract," he said.

The union vote also helped secure a 100-job shift from the Amherst plant's sister operation in St. Catharines, Ont.

"If they had voted down the contract, which changed the pay structure, it would have removed a big chunk of its (the plant's) competitiveness," said Ken Clark, director of operations for both Amherst and St. Catharines.

The jobs will come from ITT's machining operation in St. Catharines; the company's foundry will remain in place.

"We sat with the employees and told them if you do this, this is what we will do with these jobs," Clark said.

The shift of machining work should be completed by October, Eglof said.

Eglof credited a number of entities and individuals with helping to make the relocation of jobs to the area possible, including the Empire State Development Corp., the Cornell University Extension in Buffalo, the Baird Institute at the University at Buffalo, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. and State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-North Tonawanda.

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