March 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Buffalo, NY – After 200 construction workers were laid off Feb. 26, state officials promised to pay the contractors building the SolarCity plant in Buffalo. The project, which will be the largest solar-panel manufacturing facility in North America, is a large part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, but the state, which expects to spend $750 million on the plant, owes contractors more than $80 million for invoices going back to October.
“Our contractors have been floating payrolls of over $200,000 per week and cannot afford to continue,” said Daryl Bodewes, business manager for Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Local 276, which had more than 70 members facing layoffs. A source who did not want to be identified told the Buffalo News that the Empire State Development Corporation’s board had failed to authorize spending another $100 million on the project when it met on Feb. 18. The ESDC, project developer LPCiminelli, and the Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council expect the money to come through in time to start work this week. Read more