HOT NEWS – December 4, 2006

Harley-Davidson, union agree on expansion plans
Harley-Davidson has stopped searching for a new manufacturing site for its power train operations after members of the United Steelworkers of America agreed to a new pact with the company.
The agreement, announced Nov. 14 after a 943-536 union vote, means Harley-Davidson will begin planning a $120 million expansion to the company’s power train facility in Milwaukee. The move will result in the creation of 100 new jobs.
The agreement comes about a month after members of United Steelworkers of America Local 2-209 had declined to support such a move because Harley had tied lower wages for new hires and reduced benefits to the expansion plan. The original plan had a larger wage gap between existing workers and new hires than the approved version, according to the Associated Press.
The lowest starting wage rate for new hires will be $18.25 an hour for power train production jobs, according to the union. But a training program will encourage workers to move up into machine operator positions that will pay $24.42 an hour. Current employees in those positions will continue to earn $28.83 an hour.
“Now we can look forward to expanding here, rather than worry about a rival plant that would produce the same product with newer, state of the art equipment,” local union president Jim Wheiland said in a union news release.
In its own press release, Harley-Davidson stated the expansion and reduced wages will help the company in the long term. “We have an obligation to stakeholders to manage costs across the entire organization that could be detrimental to our business in the long run if we don’t start to control them now.”
Daelim relocates To A Larger Facility
Daelim Motor USA has relocated to a larger facility in the Miami area.
The South Korea manufacturer of scooters and motorcycles, which is completing its second year of distribution in the United States, has relocated to a part of Miami that is closer to key transportation areas.
Daelim has about 120 dealers in the United States and expects that number to grow at the upcoming Dealer Expo show.
According to its Web site, Daelim’s 76-acre industrial complex in Korea has an annual production capacity of 300,000 motorcycles.
Hackett Group Forms Alliance
Otis Hackett Group, Inc. has formed a partnership with Razor’s Edge Difference, an operations and accounting consulting firm focused on the powersports industry.
Debbie Thibault, president of Razor’s Edge Difference, has worked extensively with Lightspeed systems, both Unix and NXT, and Softek’s “TBA” system. For the past five years, Thibault has worked with the RPM Group providing on-site support to dealers.
“We’ve always wanted to work with Debbie and her team because their area of expertise so perfectly compliments our own,” Otis Hackett said in a news release, noting his company has previously focused on the sales and F&I departments as their core business. The new partnership will operate under the existing Otis Hackett Group corporate structure.
Ehlert Wins Innovation Award
Ehlert Publishing Group’s online video programming, just a few months into its launch, has received recognition from a media group.
Ehlert’s Web-video initiative, which includes the weekly Inside Powersports news show, earned the 2006 Innovator Award from the Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association at its annual awards program on Nov. 2.
Ehlert President Steve Hedlund said the initial response on the online news show has been promising. “Unique visitors to our sites jumped over 50 percent in August, page views shot up 120 percent, and time spent on the sites improved by 40 percent,” Hedlund said. “This is exactly what we are looking for.”
300 Miles of Arkansas OHV Trails in Jeopardy
Rider objections to a proposed trail closure in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests in Arkansas has Forest Service officials considering increasing the number of trails available for OHV riders.
According to the Associated Press, officials previously proposed closing about 300 miles of open roads in the two national forests in August, leaving only 66 miles for OHV riders.
The decision-making process is part of a national initiative to re-evaluate route designations in national forests. psb

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