Caterpillar employs about 2,000 people in plants at Larne, west Belfast and Monkstown.
The union, Unite, said 2,500 high-value manufacturing jobs have been lost in Northern Ireland in the past year.
The union said those who say manufacturing in Northern Ireland is not in crisis “are in denial”.
It says the “apathy and inaction that have characterised the NI Executive’s approach to manufacturing must end now”
The jobs losses at Caterpillar is a triple blow for the manufacturing industry in recent weeks and comes seven days after Michelin said it was shedding 860 jobs at its Ballymena factory which will close in 2018.
Half of the posts at the US engineering firm are full-time staff, the other 50 are agency contract workers.
In September, Caterpillar said it would cut up to 5,000 jobs by the end of 2016.
“Current weaknesses in the economies of some key markets are impacting on global demand for a number of our products,” a company statement said.
Last month, it announced it was cutting 20 management and supervisor roles in Northern Ireland.
Caterpillar has been hit by the collapse of commodity prices that have affected its key customers in the mining and energy sectors.
The company said it was “taking necessary measures to help support the competitiveness and sustainability of the business for the future”.
In the past four years, Catepillar has slashed its workforce by 1,000.