Harley warns union of possible move

In the midst of discussions with Wisconsin unions, Harley-Davidson Motor Co. has said it will consider moving its Milwaukee-area production if it can’t reach a suitable labor agreement.

“Our goal and our preference is to find a way to close the large cost gaps and create a flexible operation in Wisconsin that enables us to produce closer to demand,” Harley-Davidson Motor Co. CEO Keith Wandell said in the company’s earnings report in July. “At the same time, we have indicated that we will take whatever action is necessary to ensure a cost-effective and flexible operation.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Harley-Davidson has told union members it wants to slash about $54 million a year in production costs.

Harley spokesman Bob Klein says in the Sentinel report the company has a short list of possible sites the Milwaukee-area powertain operations can be moved to if a labor agreement isn’t reached. Harley’s Kansas City operation is one of those possible areas, Klein said.

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