Harley-Davidson To Decide In March Fate Of Kansas City Plant

Last November, Harley-Davidson management warned its Kansas City unions and workers (800 full time and 675 paid hourly) that internal studies showed significant gaps in cost, efficiency and production flexibility at the plant.

At the time, company officials said at the time that plant’s work would be shifted to the one in York, PA. if the unions would not agree to a new labor agreement that addressed these gaps.

I remind you that last year Harley-Davidson put the same pressure on workers in York and Milwaukee and was able to negotiate very easily huge labor concessions. Nobody has any doubt that the threats made by the company in Kansas City will result in similar concessions through a new labor agreement. As Keith Wandell, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson stated again in his conference call yesterday morning while announcing the company 4th quarter 2010 financial results, he wants to company to become lean, agile and flexible. Practically, it means less labor cost via less full time employees, more part time and temporary workers with less or no fringe benefits and perks. The fate of the Kansas City plant will be decided in March.

12 Responses to “Harley-Davidson To Decide In March Fate Of Kansas City Plant”

  1. 1 Bigalyts@aol.com Jan 26th, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I believe they should put the Work force on Commission! The more they do the more they get paid. The Politicians also need to be paid on commission. When their Bills and Laws become good for most then they get paid, spend money needlessly, No Pay. Could possibly put the Whole Country back to Work!

  2. 2 Mr. Potts Jan 26th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I hope the unions will wake up so the 1400+ workers can keep working on the best motorcycle made. The unions have destroyed the auto industry. Lets hope it doesn’t happen to American made motorcycles.

  3. 3 Eric O Jan 26th, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    The issue isnt the union. The union gives thier full time employee’s a good wage and benifits. No issue when they were profitable . Now they want part time employee’s because they can pay lower wages and no benifits . I’m sure there was no mismangement or lack of foresight on the companys part so the solution is get rid of your loyal employee’s.

  4. 4 J Jan 26th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    BEST solution I’ve seen in awhile, Bigalyts! But a politician who is actually financially accountable? Not in our childrens’ lifetimes…..

    Problem isn’t the unions, tho unions in this country are just corrupt and pointless entities at this point in history, anyway….

    Problem is a labor force in India, et al, which is willing to do low-skill work for a lot less money than we are, and weak politicians who are afraid to represent American workers, at the cost of political donations by corporations to their “libraries” and various slush funds

    Problem is also US workers who expect benefits, without the ability to spell the word………

    Solution is to expect more out of each individual in the US- no, it’s not ok to be semi-illiterate and expect to get a fat check in life- and out of Harley, who should be advancing their product line and technology, because no matter who you are in this country, if you become stagnant, you die……

  5. 5 Larry R Jan 26th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Greed, greed, and more greed. What else can you say. It’s the American way. Money talks, BS walks. Sad state of affairs but true nonetheless. Give them all hell, that is all they deserve.

  6. 6 Greg Jan 26th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Politicians aren’t going to represent American workers as long as they depend on CEOs and Wall Street to give them the funds to get elected. It’s that simple.

    The time for politics as they now are is over. You don’t need representatives in Washington now that the average American can log on after work and vote on any ideas presented. This isn’t the 1700s and we aren’t out plowing fields.

    The KC plant will be closed or the workers will end up with a contract where they would make more at Target.

  7. 7 deadwood1783 Jan 27th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I’m tired of labor being blamed for everything. Not that they don’t share in the blame, but management makes the decisions. I have no problem with pay cuts either, but upper management needs to participate in the cutbacks as well. These are not the guys who risked their own fortunes for the most part. The disparity in what productive workers are paid to what inept executives are paid is ridiculous. Pay on both sides can and should be tied to productivity and profitability. Everyone who shares in the risk should share in the rewards and a reasonable formula could be worked out. That’s how incentive should work. To pay one guy over 6 mil and then bitch about a guy making 60k is just assinine.

  8. 8 RLM Jan 27th, 2011 at 10:48 am

    The manufacturing based middle class that came to be after WWII is well into being phased out. The above average pay and good benefits are a thing of the past. We compete with the world now and a good part of that world has never had the standard of living that we have had in this country. Welcome to the new view of how life will be. We had a good ride, but that ride is a thing of the past. I don’t like how things are, I just know there isn’t much we can do about it. Make the best of it and move forward.

  9. 9 Brett Jan 29th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    The problem now is there are millions of people looking for work. Say what you will & no labor isn’t all the blame, but Unions & pensions are a thing of the past just like coal miners & railroads. Descent wage…is $13.25 an hour a descent wage? Is $20.00 an hour? is $40K a year? Is $150K a year? All I can say is there are a TON of people taking jobs for $10 an hour now. If these guys don’t want to don what needs to be done to keep their job, well then get ready for $10 an hour with no benefits just like so many others have right now.

  10. 10 Hark Jan 31st, 2011 at 8:39 am

    York Plant is going through major changes. I was told by the President of H-D when the new building is complete, 50% that are presently employed will be let go.

  11. 11 Chief Waldo Jan 31st, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    If Wandell wants HD to be lean, agile, and flexible, perhaps he needs to lead them away from the “same bikes, different pipes” school of design.
    But it’s easier to blame everything on labor.

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