United Cuts Customer Service, Other Workers

About 260 United Airline workers, including 50 customer service representatives at O’Hare International Airport, will be laid off effective Friday, just as a major snowstorm is expected to pummel the Midwest.

About 100 more workers, including customer service reps and ramp workers, will have their hours cut.

Rich Delany, district president for the International Association of Machinists, the union that represents these workers, was unavailable for comment.

The Chicago-based airline said the actions were the result of overall reduction in capacity. "This is a difficult, but necessary decision to ensure we have the right number of people in our operation," United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said Wednesday. "We are confident that we have adequate resources to serve our customers."

McCarthy said the workers were notified of the action in early December.

In addition, United flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants CWA, AFL-CIO, will hold a worldwide protest today to reflect their anger over not achieving a new contract by Jan. 7. The protest at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport will be at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at United departure Door 1G.