Union claims Harley-Davidson outsourcing work to Thailand

Once again, Harley-Davidson’s unionized workers are at loggerheads with the MoCo, renewing claims that their jobs are being shipped overseas.

The complaint comes in the aftermath of Harley-Davidson’s announcement of the closure of its plant in Kansas City. When that happened, Harley-Davidson said some of the workload of the Kansas City facility would be moved to the modernized factory in York, Pennsylvania, but Harley-Davidson workers claim that’s not the whole story.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports representatives of the Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers met with US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to say that while some of the work was indeed going to Pennsylvania, some was also going to the new plant in Thailand (announced a year ago). The newspaper quotes a machinist from the Kansas City plant as saying “Part of my job is being moved to York, but the other part is going to Bangkok.”

For its part, Harley-Davidson denies the claims, saying the opening of the Thai factory has nothing to do with the changes in the US, and that “Increasing production capacity in Asia is consistent with the company’s long-term strategy to focus on growth internationally. It is not intended to reduce U.S. manufacturing.”

Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson held its annual shareholders’ meeting last week, and barred media from attending, which is a switch from its usual wide-open approach. A spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal the meeting was “a rehash of information already reported.”

5 thoughts on “Union claims Harley-Davidson outsourcing work to Thailand”

  1. It’s standard business practice in the 21st century to have parts on any consumer item partially manufactured in poorer countries with cheaper manufacturing costs. From car/motorcycle parts to French/Italian clothing, companies have agreements with their governments to claim it’s Italian/French/USA made if the majority is made in their countries. The percent made is in the agreement and varies. I had a USA made Fender bass guitar that was partially made in Mexico but assembled, painted and finished in America but had Made In The USA printed on the head stock. You might be surprised how much of your American made in USA car or motorcycle is made in China or other parts of Asia.

    1. You’re 100% correct… for most companies. In HD’s case, however, “Made in America” is central to the brand’s appeal. Taking that away is like pounding another nail into the coffin.

      1. So an HD is 100% Made in America, brake levers, fenders etc.. ? Do they have a factory that produces those items or are they outsourced in the USA?

        1. Nobody is disputing that HD outsources parts & labour. Just saying that rising consumer awareness of this fact – aided in this case by the union – will only accelerate the company’s downfall.

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