August 24, 2006 – The successful alternative to traditional labor-management practices is what brought President Bush to Harley-Davidson’s Springettsbury, PA facility last week, where Local 175 represents 2,700 workers. After his tour and roundtable discussion with IAM members and management, Bush said: “I’m impressed by the fact that these people really enjoyed what they’re doing.”
But it wasn’t always enjoyable times. In 1981, Harley-Davidson was on the brink of bankruptcy. Facing enormous challenges, current Board Chair Jeff Bleustein and 12 other Harley executives bought the company from AMF, and began an incredible journey that led Harley to 20 consecutive years of record sales and earnings.
A good measure of that success is due to the remarkable relationship between labor and management, which grew into a High Performance Work Organization (HPWO) partnership agreement.
“The partnership with Harley-Davidson is a great model of labor and management working together,” said HPWO Director Don Kennedy. “Partnerships are a shared responsibility to build, strengthen and grow both the IAM and the companies where our members work. That’s what’s happening at all five Harley-Davidson manufacturing locations and at about 50 other IAM-represented companies throughout the U.S. and Canada.” For more information on HPWO, click HPWO Partnerships.