More Job Cuts At The Harley-Davidson York Plant

harleyyorkfactorySeventy one more workers were laid off yesterday. That’s as Harley-Davidson continues to visit and evaluate new plant sites in Tennessee, Indiana & Kentucky. If  Harley-Davidson closes the Springettsbury Township facility, it would be a total of 2000 jobs eliminated. But Harley is still studying the possibility of restructuring the business of making motorcycles at the Springettsbury plant and of negotiating a new contract with workers.If these two hurdles were cleared it could help Harley decide to stay local. The company said it wants to make a decision some time before the end of the year. As reported before, a production shut down is scheduled to start tomorrow October 1st. Worldwide sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles have declined about 12% and the company is looking for ways to cut costs and adjust production with reduced demand.

28 Responses to “More Job Cuts At The Harley-Davidson York Plant”

  1. 1 Woody Sep 30th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    kind of interesting that if they go elsewhere they aren’t going to simply build in Milwaukee. Guess they want to “save money” by continuing to truck finished engines a few states away? Guess they want customers with good paying jobs but not employees with good paying jobs.

  2. 2 Manhattanchoppers Oct 1st, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Well put wood,that would make too much sense.

  3. 3 MDK Oct 1st, 2009 at 5:23 am

    I would probably help if their swelled heads would lower the prices to a resonable amount. I recently bought a Roadliner for half of what a similar H-D would have cost and quality wise the H-D doesn’t even come close to justifying the extra cost.

  4. 4 bigalyts Oct 1st, 2009 at 5:41 am

    You mean HD’s Biz is only down 10% !! What the Frick are they Complauning about? My Biz is down 70% ! They are Cutting Here (York) 2000 jobs and thet are Clsing for 2 months t save Jobs as well ! Anything but lowering the price of their Bikest they will F_ _K over the Employees rather then go in their Pockets,even for short term!

  5. 5 Boss Hawg Oct 1st, 2009 at 7:15 am

    HD is hurting for sure!

    Until they start turning out a much better quality motorcycle, that doesn’t cook your ass, at lesser price, the metrics are going to continue taking their market share and hurt HD’s stock holders pockets where it hurts most as you are beginning to see.

    Personally, I have a couple high-end customs, however, I like to keep a fresh Ultra Classic for my long distance rides with my partner, but I will not be purchasing another for quite a long time, if ever again, and will continue to improve the performance of the ’08 that I have now.

    Boss Hawg

  6. 6 Dee Dee Presley Oct 1st, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Here in my hometown , The H-D dealership is now adding Buell after several years of hesitation. This makes me ask myself several questions. What are Buell sales figures like? Are H-D sales down just because of the economy or are more people attracted to sport bikes than cruisers now days? Are more people buying Buells because they’re cheaper than Harleys? Could Harley save some jobs by transfering employees to the Buell division if their sales are better? MDK does have a good point. If you wanted a big cruiser , and didn’t want Japanese, you’re still screwed because Victory , Triumph , and BMW aren’t exactly cheap either.

  7. 7 fuji Oct 1st, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Correct me if I ‘am wrong,
    Did I not read that if the plant were to be moved/ shuttered it would cost the Co 150 mill ?

  8. 8 just my opinion Oct 1st, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Sometimes you have to read between the lines to get to the answers. Why would HD lay off workers at a plant where they are “negotiating a new contract with workers” ANSWER negotiating power. When they have layed off workers it sends the message that if the others don’t give in they will all lose their jobs. HD may be trying to bully their workers into taking less and working harder to save their jobs. Time will tell if it works. I think Woody is on the right track here HD wants low paid workers but high earning customers. Nothing matters more than profits.

  9. 9 Jeff Nicklus Oct 1st, 2009 at 8:15 am


    HD sales are down “Worldwide 12%” …. their sales in the USA is down almost 40% …. just like everyone else. Like you, my business at Desperado is down 70% over where we were in 2006.

    This “Change” sure is getting to be painful !

    Over & Out,


  10. 10 fuji Oct 1st, 2009 at 9:31 am


    How ironic Harley trying to play that bad boy image that they shoved down peoples throats as if we were a bunch of primal, hedonistic, and impulsive kids. Kids that have kept them afloat for so many years.

    Most important thing they can do is make sure they never believe the customer or their workers / emplyees are stupid.

  11. 11 fuji Oct 1st, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Only I be stupid for not spelling employee correctly.

  12. 12 Cade Oct 1st, 2009 at 10:08 am

    People wanted “Change” didn’t they ?

  13. 13 Jeff Nicklus Oct 1st, 2009 at 10:21 am


    Sounds like you have outlined a sound business plan to me!

    What a novel idea ….. workers working harder so they can keep their jobs! I like it! Increasing productivity and lowering labor costs at the same time ….. that is friggin genius ……

    Profit??? What a novel concept in today’s “Peoples Republic of America”! Hell, if we are not careful before you know it, at this rate, capitalism could be born.

    Over & Out,


  14. 14 J Oct 1st, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Good information, Jeff- wow, I’m surprised they’re only down 40% domestically, actually- but with their funky numbers, I don’t believe much from The Company anymore…..

    Yep- look for those plants in India to be coming on line sooner than later……

  15. 15 MDK Oct 1st, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    My opinion is that they are cutting jobs to keep profits up and the bikes will soon be made in the PRC with very little American involvement other than uncrating and assembly just as a lot of companies have done.

  16. 16 fuji Oct 1st, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    If what you say comes to light would Harley Davidson still be considered a premium motorcycle.

    I just can’t see hog giving up all their technical information to an asian co.

  17. 17 Dave Blevins Oct 1st, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I may not agree with everything that HD has done, but I am on board for NOT lowering the price. I have not lowered my shop rate, and don’t see how lowering it could be anything but a bad idea! There might be fewer customers these days, which does allow me to focus more on their projects… but not for a cheaper rate, it simply costs what it costs.
    HD is a huge company and can trim lots of fat, one way is to move to another city that offers tax incentives and possibly a new building (paid for by that city) allowing for upgrades in manufacturing process(s) and equipment, maybe even push back the unions that drive costs up while doing nothing to improve the product. After all, this is business, just because we love what we do, it does not mean we do it for free. Neither should HD, perhaps the cities where HD has a production facility should work harder to keep them there and perhaps the unions should do the same. HD is a publicly traded company beholden to its shareholders, not necessarily its employees… the tail does not wag the dog.

  18. 18 MDK Oct 1st, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    So why was my Roadliner 14K and a similar H-D is 20K? I know I can afford to live in the U.S. on my salary but cannot live in Japan for the same amount. I wonder what they charge for my bike in Japan? Also I would love to own one of the new Indians but they start at 25K, so I’ll wait and maybe pick a used one up in 5 years for 15K after I wear out my liner.

  19. 19 tattooeddmike Oct 1st, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    All scary thoughts, and while people wanted change, we are all stuck with these changes, up the a** and if you don’t like it, tough…. or another thought, just wait and this country could become a branch of the PRC…. and we will be working for a bowl of rice and some fish head soup. What Harley does understand if that if they fuck over the employee’s they have and if they do not comply with their demands,…… simple, Harley will move their plants elsewhere. And what are the former employee’s to do, ………. time to get tough and try to find other work, and that’s what sucks the most, as most everyone knows, …… there isn’t any work right now! Bottom line, is the BOTTOM LINE!
    Harley’s investors only understand is how much money can be made from the company, and they don’t care how Harley management goes about doing it, they just want their money. So, first, stick it to the employee’s and if they don’t conform pull out and move it down the road…. Been through it in a steel fabracator’s shop and every contract was a bitch! We even had the paperworkers union, and if I’m not mistaken, it was the same union H-D had for their Millwalkee plant… (this was back in the middle to late 80’s). Good Luck to the H-D employee’s!

  20. 20 David Oct 1st, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Boy I sure hate to see this I was so hoping to sell my old evo but I didnt really want to give it away. Maybe I’ll just wait awhile and sell it over ebay to India ot some up and coming biker over there….

  21. 21 bigalyts Oct 2nd, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Hey David, that Evo Should be worth about $7 G’s as long as it is a 98′ or 99′ . Dave Blevins you are wrong, that is EXACTLY what they Need to and Should do! They need to drop their prices across the Board $5,000 BUCKS or 5 G’s or $3hey are st300 Euros or ???They are RAPING their “CLients”. that is what to call them in the Old Days. Now if they drop the prices they can call them Customers. They will get the 5 G’s back before they leave the store. They can afford to Buy that Chrome that Peels and the Leather Jackets that are Cardboard Injected.They are Making $10 G’s on every Bike except the Spoties. F_ _k em In The Ass! They want buisness THAT’s HOW TO MAKE BUISNESS! You know it will Help every, one of you Guys in the Aftermarket and Service Buisness. Cause when “H D Makes A Move Everybody Watches”! Thanks Cyril You know you are the T M Z of the Motorcycle Biz.

  22. 22 BAJerry Oct 2nd, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Back in the 80′ we chopper riders, bikers, custom builders, independent shop owners could give a sh-t what HD was doing, I have a Harley Davidson tat that’s 40 years old, but it has nothing to do with what is happening at the Motor Co. and everything to do with the life style. HD has never really wanted my business anyway couldn’t tell you how many HD Dealers I have been turned away from or riped off by in my 40 years of riding because I was on a chopper, with long hair, beard, ear ring and tats. When they almost went out of business, we didn’t care because we would carry on with the aftermarket and independent shops we were doing just fine with rebuilding used bikes and old cop bikes. Then Ronnie Rayguns bailed them out by f–king the imports with terrifs, . Then Willi G. and crew takes over goes public and they start sending their lawyers to f–k the Independent shops for selling t-shirts with HD on them and anybody else that had a HD, Hog, Harley, in their name, sendind threatning letters, they even tried to patent their sound and everything their lawyers told them to do, and Willi G. stealing all the “new Harley custom” ideas from the chopper / custom bike/ garage builders, – to name a few items- the mouse trap eleminator- the soft tail frame- extended front ends- 21″ front wheels- apes- hidden wires- Mag wheels- wrap around oiltank with a 12 volt battery-king queen seats-paint jobs, flames, scallops etc. -side mount tail/licence plate- forward controls-disc brakes- wide rear tires- flat black paint, fo fo cans for us poor bikers- The Howg Club, or HOG Club what a joke- putting a sportster narrow glide on a big twin, and calling it a superglide, remember that butt ugly gas tank Willi G. designed for it, more of them were trashed than any other gas tank ever, of all the old school things to come back thankfully that ain’t one of them, and that boat tail thing, dealers had to take them off to seel the bike. Great Designer he is, brags about going to design school, ain’t got a decent original idea in his head. So as far as a lot of us are concerned we hate to see the employees screw, but tough it out and get over it. I know I have missed a lot of other stolen ideas from the custom biker world by HD and Willi G.- but the life style will carry on, the “biker” life style and just because you owne a Harley dosen’t make you a “Biker”. Elton John (the secret guest band) at the 100th aniversity showed me again how out of touch Willi G. and HD really are. Glad I didn’t go, Wouldn’t have gone anyway. Sorry about all the missed spelled words but get over it. Hope I didn’t piss off to many NFG or OFG

  23. 23 winterman Oct 3rd, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    You know full well the top brass and we know who that is, is not taking a cut or missing a meal.

  24. 24 Lapper Oct 5th, 2009 at 6:53 am

    i agree with Woody’s comment. H-D wants customers that make good money, but they don’t want to pay their employee’s {the plant worker’s anyway} a good wage. I’ve been riding Harleys since 1970 and i remember when Willie G. cried to the gov’t about Japanesse imports hurting the company. Didja buy anything from Harley laltely? India, Pakistan, Taiwan, thats all ya see on the lables or parts packages. Go ahead Willie close the local plants and move to Mexico or China or wherever. Let those people buy your products because ours can no longer afford them.

  25. 25 Bigwoody Oct 5th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Page out of General Motor plan:, exploit the taxpayer , screw the worker, apply for government
    welfare and continue to raise prices.
    Retired auto worker who has suffered.
    Big corporations and big Unions have damaged American families.
    Newspapers only print whats handed to them.

  26. 26 Conrad Nicklus Oct 5th, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I say let Harley fade away and die….

  27. 27 just my opinion Oct 6th, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Jeff; I never said right or wrong. I personally believe in hard work for a fair days pay. But it looks like HD may be trying to bully their employees into taking less for more work. That will only make the employees mad and there by cause them to not work as hard or care about quality. I personally would encourage more work but offer a bonus system that would reflect their added effort. No added profit = no bonus, more work that creates profit = bonus. works for me and my company. But I don’t pretend to know their unique situation. But I will say I believe I could fix a lot of their problems if given the chance.

  28. 28 get real Oct 16th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Lapper- I think you have it all wrong. Harley employees are paid very well, higher than the average in the area. The problem is the contract does not allow for movement of the workforce within the plant and there are employees that play the system, call in sick so their machines are idle for a couple of days and then that very employee who just happens to be up next on the overtime list, will work the weekend at time and a half or double time on sunday and still get the same amount or more in their weekly paycheck. Then if HD does have someone work their machine they get a grievance filed and have to pay out anyway. The absentee rate at that York plant would make you sick, 1/3 of the work force does not need to be on payroll if the abusers would quit playing the point system and get their butts to work. I’m just sorry for the many excellent union workers at that plant who get bunched in with the slackers who aren’t worth a dam* and who are forcing the company to look at other options. The workers who don’t need the union for “protection” to keep their jobs are the ones who are getting the shaft in all this.

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