The air carrier, which has its headquarters in Chicago, said Thursday it is eliminating about 60 ticket agent and baggage handler positions in Calgary, 84 in Vancouver and 95 in Toronto, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Fred Hospes, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which was in contract negotiations with United when he heard about the layoffs, said the union will challenge the company's decision to trim its staff and outsource the work to enhance efficiency to put its operations on solid financial footing.
"And I've got to tell you this was surreal to these members and it was devastating," he said. "This is going to impact a lot of families across the country. It's devastating news.
"You know this organization's going to do what it can in order to preserve these jobs and protect these people."
United says it needs to make the cuts to run a more efficient and financially stable operation.