H-D workers vote today


H-D workers could be non-workers.

Nothing will stop Harley-Davidson from
being a profitable company, CEO Keith Wandell says — not even an
unhappy workforce. Which means they’ll get the big square-toed boot
if they don’t sign a new contract.

Wandell wrote a letter to the unionized
employees of H-D in Wisconsin last week stating that Harley is "on
a course to build a competitive company … and a business that is
sustainable long term." He added that "nothing can get in the way
of this objective."

Workers are set to vote on the new
seven-year contract today. It would stop pay raises, cut jobs, and
give work to part-time employees. Harley-Davidson says wages in
Wisconsin are too high and this contract is a necessary step in
turning the company around.

But it also said it would move its
engine manufacturing and other operations out of Wisconsin if the
workers don’t approve the contract. That would kick more than 1,000
employees out of work.

Results of the vote should be apparent by
this evening. For more, see the Associated Press story .


  1. “Look for an increase in sick days and lower product quality if the HD guys are anything like the auto plant workers.”

    It would be truly disappointing if this vote resulted in people willing to compromise (or willfully compromising) the quality of the product they’re building.

    The net result of that would be a decline in sales and eventually elimination of their jobs.

  2. Having said that, none of the bad parts ever made it into a transmission. But where one saves in labour cost, the cost of wasted materials and destroyed machines more than make up for it!

  3. I used to work for a second tier auto manufacturing plant. When management decided that, instead of filling positions with well paid, well trained people, they would cut costs by using temp agencies and tons of part time lackeys.
    It was no surprise that we exceeded our scrap quota by about 10X.

    You can bank on quality going down for HD too.

  4. Of course, everybody is aware that an unhappy workforce is key to improving a company’s product… NOT! If Mike’s facts are accurate, then 55% (roughly half) of the workerforce chose to swallow the medicine and the other 45% are pissed off. So now HD management have a “house divided” instead of a team of productive, motivated employees. Look for an increase in sick days and lower product quality if the HD guys are anything like the auto plant workers. Nothing “de-motivates” a unionized workforce more than a “take this or else!” threat…. so sad.

  5. The Union voted 55% in favour of accepting the new contract. HD will stay in Milwaukee… for now.

    [url=http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5im4ZQ7L0db5K7tRvkeDgm9F_QArQD9I76KH80]Hot Off The Press[/url]

  6. Depends on whether a drop in quality also follows that old management style, TK4.

    If wages are “too high” in Wisconsin, then it’s likely that cost of living is also at that level.

  7. Typical, isn’t it. Management makes themselves fat while the employees have to lean themselves out. I wonder if Wandell would take the same consessions?

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