The third act of Harley-Davidson's yearlong effort to muscle unions at manufacturing plants is upon us.
In an almost comically transparent cycle, the hog builder bullied employees at its York, Pennsylvania, plant into wage and staff cuts late last year by claiming it would move jobs to Kansas City. Then, earlier this year, Harley got employees in Wisconsin -- the company's home state -- to give in to corporate demands, also with KC's plant waiting to Hoover-up jobs.
Now it's our own 800 Harley workers' turn to crumble before management and simply try to save as many jobs as possible. If they don't, plant operations could move to, of all places, York.
But, plant employees and concerned city officials won't have to go into
the ugly process alone. The York Dispatch published an
editorial yesterday called "A
Little Advice for KC..." that's half sympathy card to the people
that will soon go from proud makers of the Sportster to applying for
unemployment benefits, and half a suggestion that employees don't fight
"Kansas City, what more can we say? We feel your pain," it begins. "Of
course, we'll only have about half the workers we previously had, once
all the agreed-to staff reductions are made. But remember, half is
better than none. That's what we told our workers here, and that's the
advice we have for you."
God, that's depressing. And probably right.
At least the sharp editorial board ended the piece with a nice jab at Harley bigwigs, noting that they are building a manufacturing site in
India: "One thing's for sure, though. That plant in India better stay on
the ball. ... We hear those Pakistanis are pretty darned efficient."
Given recent history, though, whatever skeleton crew the Kansas City
plant is left with should probably be concerned, too.