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United Airlines outsources 240 jobs in Canada

United Airlines’ website posted $0 fares on Thursday for a few hours. The airline has decided to honour them.

LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS

United Airlines is outsourcing 240 jobs at airports in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, the airline said Thursday.

"These were difficult decisions, but necessary as we must continually look for new opportunities to run a more efficient and financially sustainable business," United spokeswoman Christen David said in an e-mailed statement.

The jobs cuts, which affect unionized employees, will take effect in 90 days.

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The move affects customer service agents who work inside the airport and ramp agents who work on the tarmac.

"This is a devastating blow to an experienced work force that has a proven record of performing their duties to the highest standards," Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor union, said in a statement.

Unifor represents 94 United customer service representatives at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Mr. Dias said he is seeking an immediate meeting with United officials to try to get the decision reversed.

Fred Hospes, general chairperson of District Lodge 140 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said the agents earn between $20 and $25 an hour and made sacrifices to help the airline survive when it was in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The work is going to low-cost service providers, some of which are non-unionized, Mr. Hospes said.

"These members have worked for this airline for many, many years in a lot of cases," he said. "We made it very clear to the employer that we would be challenging this decision."

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About the Author
Auto and Steel Industry Reporter

Greg Keenan has covered the automotive and steel industries for The Globe and Mail since 1995. He also writes about broader manufacturing trends. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism. More

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