Monthly Archives: January 2018

Buffalo, NY- At the regular session of the Erie County Legislature held in “Old County

Hall” on Thursday, January 18, 2018, Erie County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams (D-Buffalo) presented Ms. Dinorah Santos with the Erie County Legislature’s Citizen of the Month Award for January 2018.

The Erie County Legislature’s Citizen of the Month Award recognizes outstanding members of the community. Ms. Dinorah Santos is a community leader and a devoted mother of four children and five grandchildren who grew up in Puerto Rico, she has dedicated her time to providing social and educational support for members of the Hispanic and Migrant communities across Western New York, and is the latest recipient of this distinguished award.

Ms. Dinorah Santos desire to positively impact the Hispanic community has led her to participate in several initiatives that deal with the youth in the community, from 2001 to 2006 she served as an Outreach Educator for the Batavia Migrant Program where she tutored hundreds of children and provided translation assistance to agriculture laborer families learning how to navigate the social service system. She has also has served as 21st Century Program Co-Director, Summer Youth Supervisor and After-school Program Coordinator at the Belle Center on the West-Side of Buffalo. Ms. Santos has volunteered with the WNY Hispanic American Veterans Committee and helped to establish the first monument at the Buffalo Naval & Military Park which honors the memory and service of all past, present and future Hispanic American Veterans in Western New York.

The Erie County Legislature recognizes Ms. Dinorah Santos as Citizen of the Month for January 2018 and applauds her commitment to and passion for advocating for the

Puerto Rican and Hispanic community and for constituents throughout Erie County.


Erie County Legislature


Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell votes no on budget bill, shutting  down government.

The first government shutdown in nearly five years after senators failed to reach a deal to keep the lights on.

An effort by Republicans to keep the government open for one month was rejected in a vote on Friday night after they failed to address Democratic and some Republicans concerns about young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

Republican Marco Rubio of Florida a one time supporter of the “Dreamers” voted for the bill that excluded support, after receiving pressure from the President. 

Republicans needed 60 votes to make the bill filibuster-proof, but the legislation only received the support of 50 senators. Five red state Democrats broke ranks to support the bill while four Republicans voted against.

A filibuster allows a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish, and on any topic they choose, unless “three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn” (60 out of 100 senators) vote for the bill.

But 12.00am ET came and went without a deal, causing funding for the federal government to lapse. Federal law requires agencies to shut down if Congress has not appropriated money to fund them. Hundreds of thousands of “non-essential” federal employees will be put on temporary unpaid leave. In previous shutdowns, services deemed “essential”, such as the work of the homeland security and the FBI, have continued.

Speaking on the floor after the vote, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell assailed the shutdown as the result of a “cynical decision by the Democrats”. His opposite number, minority leader Chuck Schumer, delivered a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump, blaming the president for the shutdown. The New York Democrat said Trump “walked away from two bipartisan deals” and that “a Trump shutdown will serve as a perfect encapsulation for the chaos he has unleashed”.

A White House statement issued just before midnight said “this is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators”.

Democrats earlier blamed Republican divisions for the failure of the vote. Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said lawmakers from his rival party were not on the same page as president Donald Trump.

“You’ve got the three branches of government – everything,” Wyden said. “Can these folks organize a two-car parade?”

On Thursday, the House had voted by a margin of 230-197 to advance the bill after speaker Paul Ryan made concessions to conservative Republicans in the Freedom Caucus. These included a vote on increased military funding, a potential vote on a hardline immigration bill and other “subplots”, which Mark Meadows, the head of the Freedom Caucus, declined to share with reporters. The vote was almost entirely along party lines, with only six Democrats and 11 Republicans breaking ranks.

The bill did not contain any provisions to protect Dreamers, which has been a key Democratic priority since Donald Trump announced in September that he was rescinding an Obama-era program, known as Daca. The program enabled young, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to obtain temporary legal status.

After the bill passed the House, Ryan preemptively tried to blame Democrats for any government shutdown, telling reporters: “The only people standing in the way of keeping the government open are Senate Democrats.”

In a final dash to avert a shutdown, Trump cancelled plans to depart for his Mar-a-lago resort in Florida, where the president was due to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office. Instead, Trump spent the day negotiating with congressional leaders.

But despite hosting Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, the sides were unable to reach an agreement.

Trump and Schumer, who both hail from New York, negotiated over cheeseburgers in a small dining room adjacent to the Oval Office.

A source briefed on the meeting said Schumer offered not only to meet Trump’s full funding request for a border wall, but also agreed to boosting defense spending “far above” what the White House had requested.

In exchange, Schumer requested a short-term measure that would keep the government open for just a few days, in the hopes of keeping pressure on lawmakers to reach a broader compromise. The president even seemed amenable to Schumer’s approach, the source said, and told the Democratic leader he would broach the topic with Republican leaders.

But not long after Schumer returned to the Capitol, he received a phone call from John Kelly, the White House chief of staff. Kelly, who emerged as an unexpected hardliner on immigration, informed Schumer the contours of the deal he discussed with Trump were too liberal.

As lawmakers scrambled to chart a path forward, progressive activists and Dreamers held a rally against the illuminated backdrop of the US Capitol. They implored lawmakers to reject any funding measure that did not include a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 700,000 Dreamers whose protections will expire in March barring intervention from Congress.

“For all those Dreamers out there, our message for each and every one of you: there are those in our government that see you, that hear you, that believe and know that this country belongs to you,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III, a Democrat of Massachusetts, who repeated the message in Spanish.

 Funding for the government was initially due to expire in September, but lawmakers have since passed a series of stopgap measures to keep operations running in the absence of a long-term spending deal.

The last short-term extension, which was passed in December, pushed the deadline to 19 January while leaving the fate of Dreamers in limbo. Democrats subsequently faced backlash from immigration advocates and their base for failing to hold the line on Daca after having vowed not to adjourn for the new year without a solution.

Trump gave Congress until 5 March to replace the program. But Democrats have insisted the only way to resolve the deep partisan divide over immigration is by tying it to a must-pass bill that would simultaneously avert a shutdown and enshrine protections for Dreamers into law.

Trump showed a brief willingness to compromise last week by engaging lawmakers from both parties on a potential deal to legalize Dreamers in return for beefing up border security and changes to certain visa programs. But the president dramatically undermined bipartisan talks by questioning the need to admit immigrants from places such as Haiti and El Salvador, dismissing them “shithole countries” in a private meeting with lawmakers.

Republicans meanwhile chose to move ahead with a short-term bill to fund the government, arguing that immigration was a separate issue to be dealt with at a later time. In a bid to apply pressure on Democrats, they also included in their measure a six-year authorization of the popular child health insurance program (Chip), which provides healthcare coverage to 9 million children.

Contributing: Guardian News

Marco Rubio on Friday January 19, 2018 voted in favor of a budget bill that excludes Dreamers after much pressure from President Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON – As lawmakers grapple with the complex issue of immigration and the fate of nearly 800,000 “DREAMers,” one voice seems conspicuously missing from the effort: Sen. Marco Rubio.

The Florida Republican was an original member of the “Gang of Eight,” the bipartisan group of senators that crafted the last comprehensive immigration bill in 2013. It passed the Senate but died when the GOP-controlled House refused to take it up.

But Rubio has not been involved in the latest immigration overhaul effort which is now starting to take shape on Capitol Hill at the prodding of President Trump.

Five of the original “Gang of Eight,” and one new Republican senator, are now the focus of attention on Capitol Hill and they announced Thursday they have the framework of a deal. Members of the group presented an outline to President Trump Thursday, who did not endorse the plan.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said there is no deal yet, but “we still think we can get there.” It is also not clear House Republicans are interested in accepting the work of a bipartisan Senate working group.

“We have a proposal in principle that we’re sharing with our colleagues and I think there’s gonna be a lot of interest,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who went to the White House Thursday. “I think that will matter to the president.”

Rubio downplays his absence from the various groups working on the issue, pointing out he does not sit on the Judiciary Committee, which handles immigration legislation. And he’s encouraged others are getting involved, in hopes that it forges a broader solution both parties can get behind.

“I’m glad that there are some new voices involved in this,” he told reporters Wednesday, pointing to GOP Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Thom Tillis of North Carolina who had been in some negotiations, though are not part of the bipartisan group of six. “That’s a positive development.”

What Rubio didn’t mention was the heat he took from Tea Party stalwarts for getting involved in a bill four years ago that would have provided a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The effort landed him on the cover of Time Magazine with the heading “The Republican Savior,” no doubt further rankling conservatives.

Some of those conservative activists never forgave him even after he endorsed a border-security-first approach proposed in the House, saying his support of what they viewed as “amnesty” in the Senate bill was a betrayal they wouldn’t forget.

When he ran for president in 2016, they didn’t. Instead, many opted for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and billionaire Donald Trump, according to exit polls in states such as Alabama, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi among others.

“There’s a lot of grassroots conservatives that refuse to forgive him on the Gang of Eight stuff on the last go around,” said David Bozell, president of the conservative organization ForAmerica.

Bozell said that the issue wasn’t that Rubio tried to come up with a solution, but rather that he failed to sell it to conservatives. And, Bozell adds, his fellow Republicans abandoned him.

Some Capitol Hill Republicans deciding how far to go on immigration now are looking back at Rubio’s experience as a cautionary tale.

“Sen. Rubio’s fall from political favor came from prioritizing getting an immigration deal passed over getting a deal that was good for American wage-earners and communities,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA which is a group that advocates for reduction in legal immigration. “Others in a rush to pass another amnesty at almost any cost should be chastened by the Rubio story. “

Rubio still believes in finding a solution for those immigrants, especially the DREAMers who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents and view this country as their only home.

The latest congressional effort to solve the immigration issue was prompted by President Trump’s September announcement that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in March and begin wholesale deportations. Trump gave Congress six months to find a legislative solution for immigrants covered by DACA, which was an executive action by former president Barack Obama.

“I’ve long supported doing something on that front,” Rubio said last month. “And really the debate in the Republican Conference is not whether to do something about it. I think the debate is what to do about it, how to do it. That’s a shift from where we might have been two, four, six years ago. And I think that’s true of the White House too, generally.”

But the debate regarding what provisions should be included in an immigration bill has pitted immigration hawks against more moderate members, of both parties — the same division that doomed the “Gang of Eight” compromise in 2013.

In addition to Graham, Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., are former “Gang of Eight” members of the bipartisan group that claims to have the framework of a deal.  Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who is also moderate on immigration has also been involved, rounding the group to six.

Durbin, the Senate’s second most powerful Democrat, is one of the most vocal proponents of a deal to protect DACA recipients. He’s also a member of a separate bipartisan group which includes Texas Sen. John Cornyn (the second ranking Republican in the Senate), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a Republican, and his Democratic counterpart, Steny Hoyer, of Maryland.

On Wednesday a group of conservative House Republicans released an immigration bill, known as Securing America’s Future Act, that included DACA protections on a renewable three-year basis. In exchange, the bill included a lengthy list of both internal and external immigration enforcement provisions and reduced overall immigration levels by 25%.

A statement from the White House said the legislation “would accomplish the President’s core priorities for the American people.”

But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would not commit to bringing that bill to the House floor for a vote. Instead, he said it’s a “constructive” effort.

“It’s important that we start putting ideas on the table,” Ryan added.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, one of the bill’s co-sponsors and a hard-line conservative, told reporters that the Securing America’s Future Act would be the only way legislation that included DACA protections would be able to pass the House of Representatives.

Unlike the Senate, which requires bipartisan compromise to pass legislation with 60 votes, the House can pass all-Republican legislation if most members stick together.

Labrador dismissed the bipartisan talks with the former “Gang of Eight” members as doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

“You do know what the definition of insanity is right?” Labrador said. “We have a Republican president in the White House who made his entire campaign about border security so to use the same process that they used under a Democratic president … that would be just completely futile in the House.”

Contributing: AP

BUFFALO, NY (January 18, 2018) – Persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia undergo changes in the brain that will affect their ability to communicate, including limiting the ability to speak. The Alzheimer’s Association WNY Chapter is offering a free educational program aimed at helping bridge the communication gap that is inevitable as the disease progresses.

“Effective Communication Strategies” is a one-hour program offering verbal and non-verbal strategies for caregivers to more effectively understand and communicate with their loved one. The office of United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, at 742 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo will host the program at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Registration for this no-cost program is strongly encouraged by calling the Chapter at 1.800.272.3900.

Job Fair Downtown Central Library – Buffalo, NY. 

Downtown Central Library – Buffalo, NY

Wednesday, January 24

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Free & open to the public

Bring your resume and dress for success.

Info: 716-858-8900,

Here is a list of employers: 
AAA Western and Central New York
AMAK Health Care Agency

American Medical Response
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
Catholic Health
Fetch Logistics
Fidelis Care
HR Partners Staffing
Job Corps
Kelly Services
Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara, Inc.
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

People Ready
Seneca Resorts & Casinos
Sykes Enterprises, Inc.
Univera Healthcare
The Vinyl Outlet

For an updated list, click here:…/st…/testaj/job_fair_jan_2018.pdf.


Joy Testa Cinquino

Assistant Deputy Director, Development & Communications

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

Central Library

1 Lafayette Square

Buffalo, New York 14203



The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System has more 3.2 million materials available including books, eBooks, DVDs, music & more. Free library cards (traditional and eLibrary) are available to Erie County, New York residents as well as those who work and/or go to school in Erie County, New York. For more information call 716-858-8900 or visit Follow the library on Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest , Instagram and Flickr

Vista pública ante la JSF contó con altos funcionarios del gobierno actual y de la anterior administración.

(San Juan) Las autoridades de Puerto Rico admitieron el viernes varias fallas al revelar las causas de la crisis económica que tiene al territorio en recesión desde hace 11 años, en momentos en que una junta de supervisión fiscal está exigiendo más transparencia sobre las finanzas de la isla.

Las autoridades revelaron que durante décadas, no se sabía cuántas cuentas bancarias tenía el gobierno, que las agencias públicas usaban uno de cuatro sistemas distintos de contabilidad y que los contratistas del gobierno cobraban más cuando no se les pagaba a tiempo.

El director de la agencia fiscal de Puerto Rico, Gerardo Portela, dijo que una auditoría aun en curso halló $6,800 millones en cuentas oficiales. Destacó que de esos fondos, $4,300 millones de dólares no se pueden usar debido a restricciones financieras.

Enfatizó además que las compañías de electricidad de la isla están en peligro de quedarse pronto sin fondos.

Las expresiones surgieron durante una vista pública ante la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal celebrada hoy en el Centro de Convenciones de Miramar para discutir la liquidez del gobierno de Puerto Rico y todas sus instrumentalidades.

A la audiencia comparecieron altos funcionarios de gobierno de esta administración y bajo la anterior de Alejandro García Padilla.

Hubo dos paneles, y en el primero participará Gerardo Portela Franco, director ejecutivo de Autoridad de Asesoría Financiera y Agencia Fiscal (AAFAF); Pedro Soto Vélez, principal oficial financiero de AAFAF; Raúl Maldonado Gautier, secretario de Hacienda; José I. Marrero Rosado, director ejecutivo, Oficina Gerencia y Presupuesto (OGP); Francisco Peña Montañez, secretario auxiliar de Hacienda (Manejo de Efectivo); y Antonio Tejera, Contralor de la Universidad e Puerto Rico (UPR).

En el segundo panel participará Melba Acosta-Febo, expresidenta del Banco Gubernamental de Fomento (BGF), el exsecretario de Hacienda Juan C. Zaragoza; y los exdirectores de la Oficina de Gerencia y Presupuesto (OGP) Luis F. Cruz Batista y Carlos Rivas Quiñones.

The Community Leaders Awards recognize individuals/organizations in WNY who have made significant contributions to this region through their involvement in volunteer activities and/or their special achievements in specific areas of community and professional life. These individuals/organizations exemplify the NFJC core mission of promoting goodwill,understanding, respect, and trust.

This year’s luncheon will be held at Noon on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at the Buffalo Convention Center.

Some of this year’s honorees are our own:
Crystal Rodriguez, Esq., Chief Diversity Officer, City of Buffalo
Denise Goñez-Santos and Deacon Miguel Santos (Director of the Erie 1 BOCES Regional Bilingual Education Network and National Grid Consumer Advocate, respectively)
Sharon Osorio Mentkowski, FBI Community Outreach Specialist
Principal John Starkey, Lafayette International Community High School
For more information and tickets visit:

BUFFALO, NY – With less than six months before the Competition, the judges’ panel for the 2018 Competition has been announced.

Francisco Bernier is also a top classical guitarist, having performed in more than 35 countries and winning more than 20 prizes at guitar competitions. He has recorded seven discs, and is a member of the Zahir Ensemble in addition to his vibrant solo career. He currently teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Seville. He is the Artistic Director of the Seville Guitar Festival and General Director of Contrastes Records of London.

Irina Kulikova is one of today’s leading classical guitarists. As a child, she toured her native Russia and Europe, and earned enough critical acclaim to be included in Maurice Summerfield’s book “The Classical Guitar, its evolution, players and personalities since 1800” when she was only 14 years old. She has performed in North America, Europe and Asia, and has recorded four solo CDs. She received more than 30 awards for her artistry, including first prizes at the competitions of Michele Pittaluga in Italy, Guitarra Alhambra in Spain, Forum Gitarre Wien in Austria and Iserlohn in Germany.

Michael Newman established his solo classical guitar career in the 1970s, performing with the Atlanta, Honolulu and Seattle Symphonies, and working with artists such a Frederica von Stade and Eileen Ivers. Today, he is best-known as one half of the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo. The Duo has released 12 recordings, performed in 49 states and on five continents, and served as ensemble-in-residence at Mannes College of Music. Newman has directed Guitar Studies and Ensembles at The College of New Jersey since 2014.

Sean Samimi is experienced on both the performance and the business sides of classical guitar. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. He joined the renowned agency Opus 3 Artists in 2009, and after working as artistic administrator for the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, founded his own agency, Aranjuez Artists, Inc. He frequently serves on guitar competition juries and is also regularly invited to speak on topics related to arts administration at colleges and at festivals.

Eric Sessler is an acclaimed composer and educator. He serves on the faculties of both the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School. He holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music (BM), the Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma), and The Juilliard School (MM & DMA). His creative methods utilize the guitar as a conduit for creativity, the result being adapted and manipulated to form music from solo to chamber, vocal and orchestral works. Some of his most notable works include Sonata No. 1 (written for Buffalo native Jason Vieaux), Sonata for Harp and Guitar, and “Hammerhead.”

Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio are the artistic directors of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, a role they have served since the Competition’s inception. Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio have enjoyed a celebrated career as one of the foremost guitars duos in the world. They judge competitions around the world. They have recorded ten acclaimed CDs, two named “Best of the Year” by Fanfare Magazine and American Record Guide. The nation’s capital has embraced them with two National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowships. They have been featured in concert at the White House, Smithsonian Institution, the JFK Center for the Performing Arts and are consultants to the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Recently, they were inducted into the Alice Tully Circle of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Applications to compete are due on April 1. Materials are available at The Competition itself will take place from June 6-9. Up to eight finalists will perform in the semi-final rounds at the WNED studios. Three finalists will be selected to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on June 9, and the judges will select the winner that evening. The competition is co-sponsored by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and WNED | WBFO.

“The caliber of the judges’ panel is a testament to the hard work of so many in presenting a truly top-level competition every two years,” said Castellani. “We are truly eager to meet our competitors this spring and provide them an experience they will be proud to list on their resumes.”


The WNED | WBFO family of stations broadcasts PBS, NPR and Classical music programming throughout the Western New York and Southern Ontario regions. These high-quality programs and community outreach services inform, enlighten, entertain and educate our local and regional communities. Our member-supported stations include WNED-TV (PBS), WBFO-FM 88.7 (NPR), Classical 94.5 WNED, Jazzworks, WNED thinkbright Create® and WNED PBS Kids 24/7. WNED-TV is also a national producer of award-winning documentaries. Additional information about WNED ǀ WBFO can be found at

About the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

As Buffalo’s cultural ambassador, the Grammy® winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is an internationally recognized symphony of the highest artistic caliber and an indispensable part of the Western New York community’s quality of life. For more information about the BPO, visit

About Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio

The Competition Artistic Directors have enjoyed a celebrated career as one of the foremost guitar duos in the world. Having received numerous awards and distinctions from the very beginning, they have won two National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowships, toured internationally and recorded extensively. For more information, visit

Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium – Career Navigator Program February 26 – March 2, 2018

A highly intensive training program for professional and semi-professional level job search.

Jump start your job search with this 5-day interactive, strategic approach to proactively managing your future.

· Learn techniques that will get your message out to the people that make the hiring decisions.

· Navigate the obstacles and challenges of the changing economy and learn the new rules of job search.

· Master the ability to successfully transition into new directions of employment and control future employment paths.

· Discover the increased power of working in teams, led by certified career professionals.

Who should attend Career Navigator? Professionals and/or Semi-professionals who:

· Have been unemployed, or looking for a job for an extended period of time.

· Are not satisfied with the progress of their job search.

· Want support in identifying new search strategies, tools and techniques.

Agenda: Day 1: Defining Strengths Day 2: Search Strategies Day 3: Branding and Marketing Day 4: Communication and Decision Making Day 5: Goal Setting and Accountability

In order to attend this 5-day training program, you must be:

* Registered with the Buffalo and Erie County One-Stop System * Meet eligibility requirements as a “Dislocated Worker” * Be able to attend all 5 days

Note – If you’re currently employed, you’re not eligible to participate in this program.

Upcoming Class –

February 26 – March 2, 2018

Buffalo Employment & Training Center

77 Goodell St.

Buffalo, NY 14203 Workshop 3 8:30am – 4:30pm

If you have additional questions contact:

Phyllis DePronio at: 716-819-9845 ext. 119 ( email is the best means of communication with Career Navigator in the subject line




An individual shall be eligible to participate in the Career Navigator, if he meets the following WIA Dislocated Worker requirements:

The applicant has provided the appropriate verification to verify:

• Citizenship or Eligible to Work Verification

• Selective Service Registrant (if applicable)

• Proof of Age


Meets the definition and provides a verifiable source for one of the following categories:

• Terminated/Laid Off; Eligible for UC and Unlikely to Return to Previous Industry Occupation

• Permanent Plan Closure/Substantial Layoff

• General Announcement of Closure

• Formerly Self-Employed/Currently Unemployed

• Displaced Homemaker

The Buffalo-based bank chain announced Thursday it will be raising the starting hourly wage to $14 to $16 based on region. A bank spokesman said he couldn’t provide which pay rate Western New York employees would get or the company’s previous starting wage.

The raises will begin taking effect in February and will be fully phased in by mid-year.

Locally, Bank of America is paying a minimum hourly wage of $15.00

M&T is citing the “improvements in after-tax revenue” from the federal tax overhaul for the raise, which it says will be a $25 million investment once fully implemented.

The bank joins a list of more than a dozen companies, including Wal-Mart, Bank of America and Apple, that are pledging to invest federal tax savings in payroll.

The pledged raises also come at a time of low employment and rising minimum wages. The minimum wage for upstate New York increased from $9.70 to $10.40 at the end of 2017, and will continue to rise annually until hitting $12.50 at the start of 2021.

The company also pledged to begin offering employees 40 paid hours per year to participate in volunteer or employee group resource activities.

“At M&T, we have a long tradition of working to be the best bank we can be for our employees, customers and communities,” René F. Jones, M&T chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “The success of our company is driven by the vitality of the communities in which we operate and our team’s tireless commitment to excellence in all that they do. We are pleased to recognize our colleagues and our communities in a manner which will support sustainable growth and ultimately benefit our customers and shareholders.”


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