H-D works to fix relationship with employees

During comments at Harley-Davidson’s annual shareholders meeting Saturday, CEO Jim Ziemer noted the company is continuing to create positive relationships with its employees following a three-week strike earlier this year at the company’s York, Pa., plant.

Rebuilding trust between employees and management is important, especially since Harley-Davidson will begin negotiations with the union at its factory in Kansas City soon, Ziemer said. The contract covering hourly production workers at Harley-Davidson's Milwaukee-area operations expires next year, he said.

The strike at the York plant, which is the company’s largest factory, led to reduced sales and earnings for the first quarter 2007.

Health care will be a major issue in the upcoming contract talks, much like it was for workers in York, Ziemer said.

It’s crucial that new contracts be fair to employees while taking into account the long-term interests of the company, Ziemer said.

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