Anybody who has been following Harley-Davidson's yearlong effort to retool operations by stripping away workers and wrangling concessions from labor unions knew this day was coming. The legendary motorcycle maker and Kansas City labor unions have announced that they reached an agreement. Yeah, job cuts are coming.
According to The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal (Harley's hometown paper), the new deal will ax 145 union positions when it goes into effect in 2012. That will leave the Kansas City Harley plant, which makes the Sportster, Dyna and VRSC bikes, with 540 full-time employees, down from 685 today, and 145 temporary and seasonal employees.
The paper reports that the deal will save the company $15 million a
year, and will prevent the jobs from moving to York, Pennsylvania, as Harley
had threatened to do if an agreement couldn't be reached.
It was those kind folks in York who warned
us that this day was coming. In November, the York Dispatch printed an
editorial that read in part, "Kansas City, what more can we say? We feel
your pain. 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."
So, at least the local plant avoided a cull of half the staff. That
maybe is some sort of consolation. Nah, not really.