LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UPS said Wednesday that it will lay off more than 400 workers at its logistics center in northern Kentucky, a significant cutback in the facility's workforce in response to losing business from an online retailer.
Some 433 people are losing their jobs, the bulk being hourly warehouse workers at the sprawling UPS facility near Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, said UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg.
The cutbacks will begin in mid-March and be completed in April, she said.
The layoffs stem from a decision by online retailer Zulily Inc. to stop relying on the UPS facility to manage inventory and fill orders, company officials said. The Seattle-based company provides apparel, gear and accessories for mothers, infants and children.
"We've had a wonderful collaboration with Zulily for inventory management and order distribution to help them grow as an e-tailer," UPS spokesman Norman Black said in a statement. "They've made a business decision to coordinate fulfillment and distribution in-house."
Operations will continue at the UPS Hebron facility, but with a scaled back work force of about 150 employees, Rosenberg said.
The Atlanta-based company hopes it's just a temporary setback for the facility, seen by UPS as a key logistics operation for serving the retail industry.
"We're hoping to get new business in there and build back up," Rosenberg said in a phone interview.
Employees received the layoff notices in recent days, and state and local officials also were notified of the cutbacks, she said.
Boone County officials in northern Kentucky did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
Of the 400-plus people losing their jobs, about 100 are temporary workers, Rosenberg said.
A limited number of management jobs also are being cut, she said.
Some employees will be eligible for severance packages and job-placement assistance, based on longevity with the company, she said.
UPS, the world's largest shipping carrier, remains a major employer in Kentucky, especially in Louisville — home to UPS' largest air hub. The company employs about 23,000 in Louisville, mostly at the Worldport air hub, Rosenberg said.
The company has invested $2 billion in recent years to expand its Worldport facility. UPS completed a $1 billion expansion of the hub last year that helped the company increase its package sorting capacity by 37 percent to 416,000 packages an hour.
Associated Press writer Dan Sewell contributed to this report.