Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Workers Approve By Small Margin New Labor Contracts

This Monday morning September 13th, Milwaukee area Harley-Davidson union members approved by a small margin the new seven-year labor contracts proposed to them by the direction, with for consequence that Harley will probably not move production to another state but for sure will get rid of more than 200 employees replaced by seasonal workers.

The decision that Harley-Davidson employees had to face was extremely difficult, choosing between being certain to lose their jobs in the Milwaukee area, or accepting a big reduction of their workforce and wondering if they are going to lose it in the next months.

The Harley’s board of directors will meet tomorrow Tuesday morning September 14th to decide whether to keep manufacturing in Wisconsin or move out of state. During labor contract negotiations, the company has declared it would not move its plants (Milwaukee & Tomahawk operations) if the unions approve the new contracts scheduled to take effect in 2012. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle made a public statement stating that keeping the company in the state has been a top priority and announced that he has offered Harley-Davidson a very competitive incentive package. Employees can continue to wonder if and when they will lose their job. Is a slow death better? Ratifying this contract is a no win solution for anyone but management state many workers.

Now, if you want to form your opinion, I recommend that you read the following excellent article. Are Harley Cuts A Case Of Need Or Greed?

11 Responses to “Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Workers Approve By Small Margin New Labor Contracts”

  1. 1 raycwheeler Sep 13th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    time to seek new employment.
    good luck Harley & Davidson where ever you are.
    ray usa

  2. 2 Jeff Nicklus Sep 13th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Can you say …… “The Motor Company will be moving to a Right to Work State, a State that has NO Personal or Corporate Income Taxes and a State located somewhere within the Sun Belt.” Nah, that would make too much sense!

    Over & Out,


  3. 3 Sea-ox Sep 14th, 2010 at 7:02 am

    They are moving to Kansas city Missouri. At least they are keeping it in the US and not sending it overseas like the big car companies. I guess that is one way to look at it on a positive note.

  4. 4 fuji Sep 14th, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Soon ! All of HD blue collar employees combined will be making less money than the CEO’s annual bonus !

  5. 5 Brian in NJ Sep 14th, 2010 at 7:50 am

    You need to keep two things in mind.

    The CEO (and board)of a public company has one job……to please the shareholders.

    A Labor Union has one job… protect itself. NOT it’s members.

    I spent many years as a union employee and if there’s one thing I learned it was that the Union cared much more about itself than it’s members.

    I’m not saying what HD did was good or right, but there’s no question about it’s motives. It’s a public company and it must keep the shareholders happy.

    Labor unions try to make everyone think that they are just trying to protect the members but it’s a business with an executive team running the show just like any other company. And the people paying the dues are just low level employees.

  6. 6 Richard Sep 14th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    The short answere is…The high wages and the unions inflexibility were bound to catch up to the company and workforce. I wish in my 45 years as a middle manager in an engine parts manufacturer company, I would have made the kind of money the “rank and file” were making at Harley. The people who whine the loudest are the same ones who whine about the “high cost” of Harleys. It appears that the majority of the the union understand that they have it pretty good in Milwaukee. Management has been backed into a corner with escalating costs and a down market…they had no choice!

  7. 7 Slomo Sep 14th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    It sure is a shame that either nobody read the article ” Are Harley cuts a case of need or greed” or if they did they didn’t understand it.

    As Harley and other similar small to medium size corporates hold workers and state administrations to ransom, by their attitude they are damaging both the state and federal economies. And the impacts are far reaching and well beyond the majority of US citizens due to the impact that the US economy has on the global economy.

    Why, if you understand micro economics, it all starts at the bottom of the food chain. If you replace a $30.00 an hour plus benifits (and you can add at least $5.00 per hour to cover the cost of the benifits) worker with a $17.00 NO benefits worker thats a $18.00 per hour direct saving to HD and consiquently a $18.00 loss to the individual that flows directly to the local shopkeepers and state economies through loss of taxes and spending and that is the start of the knock-on effect.

    Then there is the demotivating effect on the workforce with the overriding thought of who is going to be laid off and lossing a $30.00 + benifits job to come back to work at $17.00 per hour and NO benifits. To me that sure does not add up to a quality workforce producing quality products ! that are sold at a premium price. Then what happens… potentially a return to the quality products made during the AMF days and what impact did that have on sales in the period.

    Then there is the state putting its hand in the taxpayers pocket to provide “incentives” and “retraining programs” just to keep HD around. So they are paying out more money and recieving less tax revenue from HD (as tax reductions are usually part of the incentive programs offered) along with the reduced tax from a lower paid workforce

    And for what reason??, to quote the article:

    ” Harley made $104 million in profits in the first six months of 2010. It did have a $55 million loss in 2009, a strategic choice resulting from a $126 million write-down for discontinued operations. Before that, the company had made at least $100 million in profits for 15 straight years.”


    Last year, Harley’s CEO (a job split during the year between James Ziemer and Keith Wandell) took home $8,864,919 in extras over and above base salary of $1,105,169. In 2008, the bonuses totaled $6,201,323. That’s over $15 million in bonuses the past two years to the CEO of a company that cries “crisis” to justify lower wages and benefits for production workers.

    Are Harley in trouble…..not likely…..would I buy another Harley….not likely

  8. 8 gravey158 Sep 14th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    so if they move to another state,what happens. do the old andskilled workers follow? or do they stay home and harley spends the money to train a new work force. to back up a little more about moving. They will have to spend how much money on anew plant etc. staffing new transportation of parts, so many different costs in moving. i think they will never move. just like up here in Canada, they try to scare the little guy, who makes the profit for the company, into thinking their will lose their job. and then in the end they stay put, and life goes on ,cause we gave up. Fearing our jobs were going to be lost.

  9. 9 dragon Sep 21st, 2010 at 9:22 am

    been out of work for two years and would be glad too work at harley for 17.00 dollars on the hour now a days u better keep ur job if u got one

  10. 10 Wiz Sep 24th, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Here at Freebird Enterprizes LLC the workforce gets $20. an hour and is always complaining about that greedy bastard that is the CEO of the corporation. Of course they are both the same guy, YUK-YUK!!

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Workers Approve By Small Margin New Labor Contracts at Cyril Huze Blog – Custom Motorcycle News -- Pingback on Sep 14th, 2010 at 1:11 am
Comments are currently closed.
Cyril Huze