Unions approve new Harley labor agreement

Harley-Davidson Inc. will keep its operations in Wisconsin, the company said in the wake of yesterday’s action by the manufacturer’s union employees.

Harley-Davidson factory workers in Wisconsin have voted to keep the company’s manufacturing jobs in state and accept a number of concessions in return.

Three labor unions in Milwaukee and Tomahawk voted Monday to accept a new labor agreement, which calls for a reduction of hundreds of jobs, a multi-year freeze in employees’ pay and the assignment of large volumes of work to part-time employees, according to the Associated Press.

“Change is never easy, and we have asked our employees to make difficult decisions,” Harley CEO Keith Wandell said in a press release. “However, we are pleased to be keeping production operations in our hometown of Milwaukee and in Tomahawk.

“Together, we are making the necessary changes across our entire company to succeed in a competitive, global marketplace while continuing to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”

The company had threatened to move its operations to another state if the new labor agreement was not signed. The move, according to the Associated Press, would have eliminated approximately 1,350 jobs.

The new contracts are expected to generate about $50 million in annual operating savings in 2013, the company said.

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