Windstream Axes 350 Jobs, Gives Consumers Cheap Gas

Windstream Communications (WIN) is undergoing another round of layoffs – 350 jobs – even as it runs what must be a pricey promotion to lure new customers.

The Little Rock, Ark.-based rural communications service provider already has cut dozens of positions as landline demand declines. But is there something odd about the company slashing more jobs while offering 49-cent gasoline to potential new Internet and phone subscribers? With no guarantee they’ll sign on?

On Wednesday night, the Lexington Herald-Leader snapped photos of a long line of cars waiting outside a Shell gas station to take advantage of the promotion. Windstream was offering the gas even without getting subscription commitments from consumers. It was hyping its $49.99 per month for-life package, which features Internet access and unlimited nationwide calling.

Even so, Windstream is going through with the layoffs. Of the 350 cuts, 100 will come from now-vacation positions, or ones that soon will be because of attrition, the Herald-Leader reported. The remaining 250 will come from involuntary cuts and voluntary buyouts. Windstream is forking out two weeks’ pay for every year of service, not to exceed six months. (That’s quite the slap in the face if you’ve been with Windstream for a decade or more).

Windstream will take a $15 million charge in the fourth quarter for the severance payouts.

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