H-D helps vets, threatens workers


Leaving Milwaukee?

Harley-Davidson may abandon Milwaukee
if labour costs aren’t reduced soon.

Harley boss Keith Wandell, who reportedly made $6.3 million in the eight months of 2009 in which he served as head honcho, has said that H-D will move its
manufacturing operations out of Wisconsin if millions of dollars
cannot be cut from employee salary expenses.

Harley’s HQ would stay in Milwaukee,

Wandell said the company will decide
over the next two months if a move is necessary.

About 1,600 jobs would be affected,
though none of those would be Keith Wandell’s.

Meanwhile, Harley hasn’t forgotten who
made it the success that it is. The Harley-Davidson Foundation has
just announced a $1-million grant to the Disabled American Veterans.
"Veterans have always
been important members of the Harley-Davidson family and partnering
with the DAV is an ideal way to support them and recognize their
contributions to our country," said foundation president Gail Lione
at the announcement, which was made at the DAV national conference in


  1. Not out of country, out of state. The CEO, only concerned about short term share price, will blackmail Wisconsin governments and workers looking for tax and wage concessions, on the threat of moving to some lower tax and wage southern State.

  2. Just had to say something as i read about a few yamahonda riders
    complaining about losing jobs in this country.

    Kinda lame. If American mfg’s made what we wanted we would buy
    American. Genius Keith killed Buell because he could not understand
    why anyone would want to ride a sport bike. This wisdom coming
    from someone that did not have a motorcycle license when he got
    the job.

  3. i was reading that they wanted to move back to chinaand japan but all the factory space had been rented by honda,yamaha and kawasuki after they all closed up here and ran back home. I am surprised that walmart dosn’t have a jap motorcycle parking space at there from door. Just had to say something as i read about a few yamahonda riders complaining about losing jobs in this country.

  4. Interesting discussion concerning the worthiness of compensation and such. Class wars are never-ending hot topics.
    Now then, how soon can we revert to the more pressing issues that pertain to real world riding?
    The potato-potato noise problem, the chrome = value mind-set, the ass-less chaps conundrum, the beat-down of Buell – these and other talking points need to be addressed here.
    Milwaukee has already lost the designation of “beer capital”. If The Motor Company exits, who (except for maybe the 1500 employees and their families) really cares?

  5. When people take “performance based compensation” (ie. ‘bonuses’, stock options, etc.), while a company is losing money and looking at laying people off, it’s more than a little germane to the conversation. It’s a big part of why the Us experienced such a serious credit melt-down.

  6. The salary figure mentioned earlier was essentially correct, when all forms of compensation are taken into account, and the 8-month time period that Mr. Wandell worked in 2009 is used for a simple calculation. I have revised the statement to cover my ass, but I stand by my original number. Mr. Wandell’s salary was mentioned in the first place because I hoped to see a good number of comments about the story, and because CEO salaries are relevant when a company talks about laying off workers. Those aren’t bums he’s firing, they’re people with mortgages and skills. Thank you for all the comments.

  7. Rui, nobody has suggested that unionism hasn’t pushed costs up. I think any rational person (even the hardened union types) would agree with that logic. It is based on this acknowledgement that many agreements have included roll backs and concessions in recent collective bargaining. At my place of employment(communications industry), workers have lost jobs, seniority, wages, benefits, and have faced pension adjustments (ie. less pension) for the sake of keeping costs competitive in the face of growing competition. Yet, you never see the CEO’s or board members bite the bullet.It’s not right.

  8. Plus when a company does poorly who is the first to get fired? The CEO. They flip flop more than NHL coaches do when a team does bad.

    Higher up the ladder = more risk = more pay…well unless you are sweeping floors for Ford.

  9. ^ wrong AND biased, the whole “don’t pick on poor workers when the execs are so overpaid” context is beyond retarded. I’ve known unskilled and uneducated autoworkers who’ve gotten paid six figures to sweep factory floors – a big reason why the NA auto industry went through what they went through. A first year economics student would know that these costs need to be controlled in todays world economy and realities. As for exec. compensation, if anyone thinks it’s unfair, I suggest they apply for those jobs – good luck getting it and good luck doing it! And the MoCo isn’t leaving the States..

  10. Well goodie for them. They’re wrong. If you check the Forbes link that I provided, you’ll see that they are only considering salary+bonus, not the multitude of other ways that top level executives are compensated.

  11. If Harley Davidson motorcycles are made in any country other than the U.S.A. it will be the demise of the company. On another note, exactly what “special” skills do fat cat CEO’s possess that allow them to demand million$ in compensation per year? I hate to read about companies losing market share and crying the blues yet executives continue to make obscene salaries. 🙁

  12. Another company who want theirs employees to work like the Asian people, low wages no benifits etc…

    Go for it continue to buy from Wall Mart and other store like that someday it’s gonna be your job. Are you gonna complaint or do something about it. Buy made in North America.

  13. Keith if you think your workers are overpaid you
    might want to look at this guy.

    In his first eight months as chairman of HD,
    Keith E. Wandell was paid $6.4 million U.S.

    The motorcycle company benefitted by his leadership
    loosing $218.7 million in its fourth quarter, but it has
    laid off workers, closed factories, and ditched
    unwanted brands in an effort to turn a profit.

  14. Wow, you’re right. So it’s only $8,000.00/day (assuming he only takes 4 weeks vacation per year). yeha, the guy’s underpaid for sure. Cut back on those fat cat worker salaries but don’t question the compensation given to the CEO!

  15. Just did a little research, something the “staff” at CMG might have done…

    Annual compensation for the CEO of Harley including salary and bonuses was $1,430,055 USD.

    You’re welcome

  16. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could purchase “The” motor company, move it to North Korea, and run it with clild slave labor and the “faithful” would still line up to purchase real American motorcycles.

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