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Posts Tagged ‘Labor’

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.

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Father Arsenios at the Vatopaidi Monastery

I was reading an article by Michael Lewis’s on the Greek financial crisis which somehow seemed to be framed by a story involving monks?  I was only scanning the article because I just didn’t care that much.  But, I couldn’t figure out the angle, what exactly did the monks do?

Jumping back, I discovered it involved some land swap.  It seems that no one pays taxes in Greece unless they work for a corporation and the country’s economy is even worse than that of the U.S., but in searching for this so-called heinous monk behavior I came across this passage, wherein Father Arsenios points to a sign he had tacked up on one of his cabinets, and translates it from the Greek:

“THE SMART PERSON ACCEPTS. THE IDIOT INSISTS.”

He found the sign on one of his business trips to the Ministry of Tourism.

“This is the secret of success for anywhere in the world, not just the monastery,’ he says, and then goes on to describe pretty much word for word the first rule of improvisational comedy, or for that matter any successful collaborative enterprise. Take whatever is thrown at you and build upon it. ‘Yes…and’ rather than ‘No…but.’ ‘The idiot is bound by his pride,’ he says. ‘It always has to be his way. This is also true of the person who is deceptive or doing things wrong: he always tries to justify himself. A person who is bright in regard to his spiritual life is humble. He accepts what others tell him – criticism, ideas – and he works with them.'”

Eureka!  That’s it! This explains the behavior of workers in USW Local 2-209, USW Local 460, and IAM Lodge 78 who yesterday approved the new Harley-Davidson labor agreement.  Previously, Harley-Davidson management has said that approval of the new agreement would be required for the company to keep jobs in the state and the board confirmed it will keep WI, plants open.

Rather than distance themselves the union and workers leaned in.  Now harmony has ensued and everybody can move forward.  Congrats!

UPDATE: September 14, 2010 (1:15pm PST) — H-D posted a press release HERE on the ratification details of the new 7-year labor agreement.  The company expects to have 325 fewer unionized employees in Milwaukee and the new contract will generate about $50M in annual operating savings in 2013.

Photo courtesy of Father Arsenios and Jonas Fredwall Karlsson.

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