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Harley-Davidson seeks voluntary layoffs

Harley-Davidson has offered voluntary layoffs to its hourly employees at three Milwaukee-area engine and parts manufacturing plants.

The OEM is looking to layoff 250 workers, or 26 percent of its staff at those plants, as part of a union agreement announced in September 2010, according to Reuters news service. Harley began asking for the voluntary layoffs on Dec. 5, and it has given today as a deadline for those decisions.

Maripat Blankenheim, a Harley-Davidson spokeswoman, told Reuters that the company would wait until the deadline passed to decide whether to implement involuntary layoffs. The layoffs are expected to be completed by April. The OEM will then hire 150-250 seasonal workers as production spikes warrant a staffing increase.

The reduction in staff is expected to save Harley-Davidson $50 million per year.

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