Harley-Davidson union workers did their part today by ratifying a contract that could possibly keep the plant in York. The next move is up to H-D’s Board of Directors.
The new contract calls for a further reduction in employees. The York plant’s workforce has already been cut from 2,800 a year ago to approximately 1,950 currently. The contract states that these numbers would further be reduced to about 750, with another 250 other workers who will work as needed. The contract concedes more control of schedules to the company and includes concessions to health benefits.
The Milwaukee-based company will now decide whether to keep the plant in Springettsbury Township or move it to Kentucky. Harley has been considering moving the vehicle assembly operations to Shelbyville, Kentucky as a cost-saving measure. The move has received much opposition from the Pennsylvania community which the plant has helped support for the last 36 years. H-D’s Board of Directors is expected to make a final decision on the York plant by Dec. 10.
Harley-Davidson employees started showing up early in the morning at the Toyota Arena to vote on the new contract. It’s a serious dilemma for the York workers. The contract and its further job reductions are a bitter pill to swallow. One could vote yes only to still get canned. But it’s either save a few jobs or lose them all.
A contract between The Motor Company and The International Union of Machinists and Aerospace Workers was agreed upon by negotiators about two weeks ago. Today’s vote was a ratification of that previous agreement.
Harley-Davidson reportedly released a statement later this morning saying the contract ratification is a “signifcant step” toward restructuring York’s vehicle assembly operations. H-D began rolling motorcycles off the York assembly line in 1973. The plant builds Harley’s Touring and Softail models and is the largest Harley-Davidson manufacturing facility.