Wednesday, 21 December 2011
H-D First Wave of Layoffs
Harley-Davidson Implements First Wave of Layoffs
Initially voluntary, the company will wait until December 23rd before deciding whether to implement involuntary layoffs
Harley-Davidson Inc. earlier this month offered voluntary layoffs to hourly workers at three plants in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area to reduce staff by about 26 percent (250 workers), giving itself flexibility to hire seasonal workers as stated in Union contract negotiations in December 2009 (York, PA facility) and September 2010 (Milwaukee and Tomahawk, WI facilities). The layoffs at the Milwaukee facility were initially offered voluntarily, but in order to meet the April 2012 deadline for implementation according to the September 2010 contract, they may become involuntary. 150 - 250 temporary seasonal employees may be hired to fill the positions created by the layoffs. Based on the new union contract, the company expects to have about 700 full-time union employees in the Milwaukee area in 2012.
In 2009, Harley-Davidson laid out a plan to eliminate 2,700 to 2,900 hourly production positions and about 720 non-production positions through 2011. The latest layoff offers are in addition to that plan. When the deal with the USW and IAM was struck in 2010, Harley-Davidson's U.S. retail sales were on their way to an 11.7 percent decline from 2009. The company's sales have recovered in 2011 but are still well below previous highs. Workers affected by the contract are represented by the United Steelworkers and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Harley-Davidson expects to save $50 million annually starting in 2013 due to changes in its contract with Wisconsin workers.