Cox issues layoff notices to 160 in Wichita

Days after officials from Cox Communications announced that as many as 300 new jobs were expected to be added in Wichita, 160 employees received layoff notices.

The affected workers received WARN — Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice — notices on March 3, four days after Cox officials told The Eagle that a consolidation of the company’s call centers across the country would result in a gain of hundreds of new jobs at its Wichita call center.

Cox spokeswoman Christine Martin said Friday that the company hopes to retain many of the affected workers by offering them jobs in the positions that will be coming to Wichita or in other Cox positions outside of Kansas. She said affected workers who transfer to a Cox operation outside Kansas will be offered $15,000 in relocation assistance from the company.

“A lot of these impacted people will be moving into these new roles,” she said.

She said the majority of the affected Wichita employees work in the company’s inside sales, or “retention,” area.

WARN notices give workers a 60-day notice of their termination date. They are part of the federal WARN Act, which requires most companies with 100 or more employees to provide a two-month warning in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff.

Martin said it’s hard to say at this point how many workers will end up losing employment at this point. She said between the customer care and technical support call center positions being added in Wichita, and open positions elsewhere within the nation’s third-largest cable TV, Internet and phone provider, officials hope it will be minimal.

“At the end of day we don’t know how many employees will decide to leave,” she said.

The expansion of the company’s Wichita call center is expected to begin this month. Under a reorganization by Atlanta-based Cox, the Wichita center and five others — including Oklahoma City and Omaha — have been designated as Centers of Excellence. The centers are part of an effort by Cox to consolidate operations and improve efficiency. The company said the new structure would allow it to provide services from sites that excel in a particular specialty, such as technical support.

Martin said the reduction in Wichita positions is part of the reorganization.