Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Doyle Keeps Harley Expansion in Milwaukee!

Actually not, but since he was blamed when it looked like the Harley expansion would happen elsewhere, I figured it was only fair to give him credit when the company decides to stay.

All friendly prodding aside, even though the union was forced to accept concessions with the vote last night, I still think it comes out ahead by standing up to the threats by Harley last month that the company's first offer was going to be its final offer.

The union rejected that first offer, and in this latest one it ended up getting terms it could accept.

That's the essential point of a union. If those workers negotiated as individuals, they never would've stood a chance at getting contract terms they could accept -- they just would've gotten terms they had to accept.

Interesting note, the union leadership encouraged members to vote for the first offer, evidently accepting the company line that it would be the last offer. Kudos to the rank and file who knew better.

The vote last night marks the second union concession in three years. In light of Harley's projected billion dollar profits this year, let's hope it's the last for awhile.


Blogger TC said...

Although not a big fan of unions, I feel they are necessary. I don't often give big business a pass either. Greed too often rules on both sides.

But I'm listening to this story, I hear about Harley's billion dollar profit this year and I'm thinking "They can't afford the $120 million dollar expansion without getting concessions from the union?"

I guess I don't know as much about running businesses as I thought.

BTW, I don't give too much credit or blame to government for job gains or losses. They have some influence, but not as much as we like to give them.

November 16, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Thanks for your comment, TC.

I share your interest in knowing why concessions were necessary in a year that Harley is projecting billion dollar profits. The company line is that they're trying to avert future downturns.

That's all well and good, but, in that case, it's my feeling that the concessions should be shared across the board. And in all this talk about what the union currently makes and stands to lose with this vote, there's absolutely no public scrutiny of management and top executives. While the rank and file have their laundry tossed all over the front page for everyone to judge, those at the top get to sit back with their compensation hidden from the public eye.

In this sense, the "We're trying to protect the future of the company" line serves as blank check for the company brass, and all they need to do for the public to swallow it is point to GM or Ford. But whether or not the line is actually necessary or fair never gets questioned because the company only opens its books enough to give the public the impression they want to give -- and that impression certainly doesn't include their own salaries.

November 17, 2006  

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