United Airlines confirmed Wednesday it will begin laying off about 1,200 employees in January as part of an effort to cut 7,000 jobs and ground 20% of its fleet. "These are part of the difficult but necessary actions we are taking company-wide to enable United to compete in this challenging economic environment," a spokeswoman said. Among employee groups, mechanics will be hardest hit as the company closes maintenance facilities at LaGuardia, Newark and Philadelphia International Airport.

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