Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pennsylvania town previously screwed by Harley-Davidson offers advice to Kansas City

Posted By on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Harley-Davidson has KC by the balls.
  • Harley-Davidson has KC by the balls.

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

too hard.

"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.

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