Way back in 2009 I posted a blog about H-D’s restructuring and management looking at moving from the York, Penn. plant due to inefficiencies, cost structure and a major problem with absenteeism.
At the time H-D was looking at four other possible sites including moving operations to the Kansas City facility. I even wrote a tongue-n-cheek letter to CEO, Keith Wandell stating Oregon was open for business if they wanted to consider the west coast for relocation. Concessions were made to keep the plant in York, changes in work culture and a new attendance policy were negotiated as part of a multi-year restructuring deal and the York plant continues on.
Then earlier this year I posted about H-D management giving it’s Milwaukee workers an ultimatum… approve a new labor agreement or risk losing/moving jobs out of Milwaukee (PTO and Tomahawk) to the Kansas City plant or to another state. Ratification of a new labor agreement occurred on September 14, 2010 which meant fewer employees and a whole host of other changes to generate about $50M in annual operating savings.
And speaking of Kansas City, Harley-Davidson management has told its KC plant employees this week that they must accept wage and other concessions or the plant could be closed or move. The company stated the plant would be merged with one in York, Penn. The company said: “that recent internal studies show significant cost, efficiency and production flexibility gaps in the Kansas City operations,” which must be addressed.
Talk about déjà vu… all over again!
Is it about the “Art of Negotiation” or is management truly committed to closing the Kansas City plant? Probably a little of both, as we’ve seen in the past the recession favors management and puts more pressure on workers to agree to the demands. In fact, in each of the previous cases the company has obtained nearly all the concessions ask.
Adding to the KC efficiency insult was the company statement of how it would make a final decision in Q1, 2011. Gives the workers something to think about over the holidays. Just stay classy H-D!
Photo courtesy of web.