Wisc. Harley Union OKs Stark Contract

Bikemaker had threatened to leave town without steep concessions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 13, 2010 4:25 PM CDT
Harley-Davidson workers gather in front of the Waukesha County Exposition Center in Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Sept. 13, 2010, after union workers ratified a seven-year labor contract.   (Jeffrey Phelps)
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(Newser) – A Harley-Davidson union narrowly voted today to take a pay freeze, hundreds of job cuts, and delegate substantial work to part-timers, but the motorcycle icon will stay in Milwaukee—at least for now, reports the AP. The seven-year contract passed 55%-45%, and largely because it included a one-time payment of $12,000 to all active and laid-off workers eligible for a callback. "I was laid off, I had no chance of being called back, so yeah, I wanted the $12,000," says one.

Harley CEO Keith Wandell, who had threatened to relocate if workers didn't take what it called its lone and final offer, said the contract put it "on a course to build a competitive company for the future. Nothing can get in the way of this objective." Disgruntled workers hung "For Sale" signs on their bikes, and demanded Wandell make equal concessions. For more Harley rumblings, click here.

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