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Archive for March 1st, 2011

Forty & Eight Club - Seaside, Oregon (circa: 1952)

 

“…it’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

The above statement was made by Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia who planned to set off a car bomb during Portland’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square last December.  Mr. Mohamud made the statement to arresting detectives.

Yet, the statement could very well explain the H.O.G. rally in the state of Oregon for 2011.  It’s M.I.A.!

I’ve been planning out my riding season and I’ve seen a number of zany things in my travels, but nothing as wild as the veterans in the above photo of the Forty & Eight Club.  So I went looking for event dates on the HOG members page and there is nothing listed on the site.  I re-reviewed the latest print edition of H.O.G. (Edition: OO9 2011) which has a pull-out section dedicated to H.O.G. events in the U.S. and indeed it ignores Oregon state.  Okay H.O.G. what’s the story?

Being impatient I decided to call the national HOG-800 number and ask the question.  After several minutes of press “#1-for-HD” and “#2-for-HOG” a nice lady put me on hold to check with her supervisor.  She returned to the phone and told me that there is nothing planned as yet for Oregon – explains the lack of any information as I explained to her!  More importantly I wanted to know if the state was being ignored because of my occasional less than flattering blog post on the motor company?   Was it a decision made by National H.O.G. or was this a lack of initiative and action at the local level?

I gave them an out on that last question and she stated that the local H.O.G. chapters had yet to provide any information to national.  Classic shift of blame, but it might be true?  Washington, Idaho and Nevada all have H.O.G. dates set!

So, what’s up: SalemCoos BaySunsetRose CitySouthern OregonPioneerCentral Oregon, and Twin Rivers H.O.G. chapters…???

Photo courtesy of H-D Museum.  Photo taken in Seaside, OR. Circa: 1952

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Humpty Dumpty Prevention Program

Most chief executives are entering 2011 with big decisions to make—especially how to revive sales.

But, some have deeper problems to address.  Facing down “significant cost, efficiency and production flexibility gaps” as well as fierce competition for some, such as Harley-Davidson who last November told Kansas City union officials that it might move operations to Harley’s Springettsbury Township plant if a contract wasn’t ratified by early March.

Well it’s March and their “no blink” management style resulted in the members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 176 and United Steelworkers Local 760 not letting “Humpty Dumpty” fall.  They ratified a contract by a vote of 467 to 185 and the new labor agreement takes effect in August.

The “fall prevention program” has been implemented and proven to be an effective tool in the loss of all jobs in Kansas City.  Congrats to Local 176 and Local 760.  The new contract is a 7-year deal that, when implemented, will result in the Kansas City plant having about 540 full-time, hourly unionized employees compared with about 685 today.  Yes, it’s a loss, but it does keep many high-paying manufacturing jobs in Kansas City and brings all H-D plants under one umbrella for production flexibility.  The company stated that the new contract, which will be implemented in phases, will result in about $15M in annual savings starting in 2013.

To all the folks who railed on my public union previous blog post, you see private unions have to adjust to economic conditions.  Unlike the Wisconsin public union members who have protested for days because they have been ask to pare back their benefits, Harley-Davidson has budgetary constraints that can’t be fixed by raising taxes. If we used the public union mentality I suspect they would ask Harley-Davidson to respond by raising prices and demand that motorcycle enthusiasts just pay more for a scooter instead of buying something else?

And if all that wasn’t enough… this item falls into the “what were they were thinking” category… I read that in Minnesota a local pipefitters union has purchased the Hillcrest Golf Club in St. Paul, paying $4.3M – yes, you read that correct at $4.3M – for the private club and vowing to keep it private for at least two years.  That does a lot for the unions  being frugal perception…

Photo courtesy of NYTimes.

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