H-D might stay in Kansas


Kansas City union will vote on preliminary agreement next Monday.

Harley-Davidson has reached a preliminary collective bargaining agreement with workers at their Kansas City plant, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.

The union had been in talks with management since January, after an internal study in late 2010 led company officials to threaten to move jobs to their York, PA plant to improve efficiency.

The Journal points out the company appears to have developed a tactic of playing their various plants against one another; in 2009, Harley-Davidson won concessions from workers in York, threatening to move their jobs to Kansas City or a new plant if efficiency wasn’t improved, and in 2010, Milwaukee workers agreed to a new contract under a similar threat.

The deals revolve around Harley-Davidson’s plan to hire part-time workers on an as-needed, part-time basis at $16.75 per hour, instead of full-time union wages that start around $30 per hour.

The Kansas City union (about 675 members) will vote on the deal next Monday after reviewing the details today. There’s no word yet if the negotiations will result in job cuts at the Kansas City plant, but the union concessions at the York and Milwaukee plants meant not only the introduction of a part-timer workforce, but also left some employees with pink slips.


  1. The H-D plant in question is in Missouri, not Kansas.
    I’ll not comment on the quality or perceived value of Harley Davidson motorcycles. I’ve never owned one. Not my style. Not my type of ride.
    Because of the automotive assembly industry, Ford and GM, there’s an ample suppply of semi-skilled workers in the area. What must be resolved is the labor costs of those employees.
    Are Union contracts exorbitant? Does a line worker really provide enough skill and labor to command a benefit package that may exceed $60,000 per year?
    More importantly, are the prospective buyers of H-D’s willing to pay for the additional union imposed assembly costs?
    If not, H-D will shutter the plant and move this operation elsewhere to remain competitive with the rest of the industry.
    And keep using robots for all the heavy lifting and repetitive tasks.

  2. JoBlow,

    If you buy HD “made in china” leather jackets, t-shirts, and chrome accessories, you’ve already helped shut down a lot of jobs in North America.

  3. Does it matter where they are made? They are still going to vibrate like a paint shaker.
    I am not impressed with the under powered hey look at me chrome glides

  4. He Gene with people like you we will end up as a nation of hamburger flipper. HD are good bikes it’s not the 70’s Harleys.
    If you need an airplane ticket contact me I will be please to buy one for you to Japan.
    Tell me what is your job I will do everything to try to shut down your factory.

  5. Wow … I’ve been in the motorcycle industry for 24 years and have never made 16.00 an hour.
    Come to think of it i’ve paid it though.

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