Windstream Cuts 220 Positions In Iowa, Minnesota As It Integrates Telecom Purchase

Windstream Corp. of Little Rock said Thursday that it is restructuring its work force in Iowa and Minnesota, cutting 220 positions, as it converts the former Iowa Telecom properties to its corporate network and billing systems.

A Windstream spokesman said the moves do not affect any positions in Arkansas.

Windstream's cuts include 146 in Newton, Iowa. The telecom said that most of the positions will be eliminated by the end of the year, with the rest being phased out in early 2011.

The positions primarily are in network operations, information technology and finance, the company said.

Windstream completed its $1.2 billion deal to buy Iowa Telecommunications Services Inc. in June. The deal has allowed Windstream to expand into Iowa and Minnesota, adding about 256,000 access lines, about 95,000 high-speed Internet customers and about 26,000 digital TV customers.

As part of the deal, Iowa Telecom's chairman and CEO, Alan Wells, joined Windstream's board of directors.

"System conversion is a key part of the integration of our two companies in that it eliminates redundancies and enhances efficiency," Brent Whittington, Windstream's COO, said in a news release.

"As we move forward, Windstream is committed to maintaining a significant operation in Newton, including the call center there. Additionally, our field staff, including network technicians and business sales teams, are largely unaffected by the restructuring and will continue in their roles serving customers."

Windstream said employees affected by the changes can apply for other open positions within the company, and that it will provide severance benefits to eligible employees and outplacement services.