Just as a seven-year contract with employees in its Wisconsin plants is set to expire, labor unrest is beginning to show up, says a newspaper.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that employees of Harley-Davidson’s Menomonee Falls plant have been staging protests as their current contract is set to run out.
Signed in 2010, the contract has been in effect since 2012. It froze wages (although did allow for some pay raises and changes to health benefits), and also opened the door for Harley-Davidson to hire more temporary employees, who would work for Harley-Davidson at busier times of the year, but not for a full 12 months. These workers earn less money and do not get the health and retirement perks that their full-time counterparts do.
So far, the protests have taken place on employee’s dinner breaks, reports WISN 12, with no word of production disruptions. However, some workers were finding themselves in a major jam, as they say they had no idea what to expect with the new contract, and they didn’t know if they should accept retirement under the current contract before it expired.
According to WISN 12, workers say they don’t have any current contract offer or vote date or any other indication what the future holds.
Harley-Davidson, meanwhile, says it’s bargaining in good faith and does not seem particularly interested in talking to the media otherwise.
Harley-Davidson’s unions have become more vocal in recent months as the company goes through changes. Last spring, union officials complained about the company’s plans for a new production facility in Thailand, saying the company was moving jobs overseas. Earlier in 2018, the company made headlines by announcing the closure of its Kansas City plant, moving that facility’s production to other plants, particularly the factory in York, Pennsylvania.