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Harley-Davidson Workers Union Approves Contract


WAUKESHA, Wis. (WTAQ) - Almost 55-percent of Harley-Davidson employees in Metro Milwaukee voted Monday in favor of a new contract designed to keep their jobs from going elsewhere.

The United Steelworkers at the Harley motorcycle engine plant in Menomonee Falls voted 619 to 507 in favor of a seven-year contract that takes effect in 2012.

The International Association of Machinists, which represents about 135 Harley workers, also okayed the contract. It’s designed to cut costs by reducing at least 200 of the 1,400-plus full-time jobs at the Milwaukee area plant.

It also lets the company hire seasonal workers at just over half the union members’ pay, in order to meet fluctuations in the product’s demand.

Harley workers in Tomahawk were also voting Monday on a contract which would keep their two plants open – but would cut 75 of the 375 jobs and allow for seasonal workers to be hired. As of mid-day, the voting results at Tomahawk were not known.

Harley has said it needs employees to approve the deal, or else it would close the plants and move to where the labor is cheaper. 

Governor Jim Doyle issued the following statement after employees at Harley Davidson voted to accept a new contract that will keep hundreds of the company’s jobs in Wisconsin.

“Today’s vote by Harley employees is good news, but this was a tough decision for Harley and for hundreds of workers. Harley has faced real challenges in these difficult national economic times, but through hard work and cooperation this Wisconsin icon will continue operations in this state.
“The State has made keeping Harley in this state a top priority, and we provided a very competitive incentive package to help ensure Harley’s jobs stayed in Wisconsin. I want to thank everyone who came together in difficult times to make this possible.”