The risk of Milwaukee losing corporate citizen Harley-Davidson appears to be over, as Harley-Davidson management reached agreements with the steelworker’s and machinist’s unions earlier this week. The new contracts take effect in April of 2010, and cover the production of engines and transmissions in Milwaukee, plus the production of motorcycle components in Tomahawk, WI.
The new labor agreements allow for a reduction in workforce from 950 to 700 workers in Milwaukee, a sad reality of declining heavyweight cruiser sales. The Tomahawk workforce will be cut by some 75 employees, but provisions are included in all agreements to hire “casual” employees to supplement production as needed. The new labor agreements are expected to save Harley-Davidson about $50 million in the first full year of the agreements.
Harley-Davidson President and CEO Keith Wandell summed up the announcement with this statement:
“Change is never easy, and we have asked our employees to make difficult decisions. However, we are pleased to be keeping production operations in our hometown of Milwaukee and in Tomahawk. Together, we are making the necessary changes across our entire company to succeed in a competitive, global marketplace while continuing to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”