Harley Threatens to Close Kansas City Plant

IAM members of Local 176 in Kansas City, MO, became the latest group of Harley-Davidson employees to face a shutdown if the motorcycle manufacturer cannot address what it calls “competitive gaps” in costs between Kansas City and other Harley plants.

In a letter to Kansas City employees, Harley CEO Keith Wandell said the company had identified “significant cost, efficiency and production-flexibility gaps in the Kansas City operations. We indicated that if we cannot find ways to address these gaps, the alternative would be for the company to consolidate the Kansas City operations into the vehicle final assembly operations at our York, Pa., facility.”

In plain English, Harley wants $25 million in concessions from Kansas City employees or it will shut down the plant and move the work to the company’s York, PA assembly plant.

Workers in York recently faced a similar scenario, where Harley threatened to close that facility and eliminate more than 2,000 jobs if workers there did not ratify an agreement that included $100 million in savings . The same situation occurred at Harley’s Milwaukee, WI plant, where the company extracted $53 million in savings from the employees.

Harley-Davidson also announced this week it would be building a new assembly plant in India.