High On The Hog: Harley Settles Factory Strike

Harley-Davidson employees at the company's York, Pa., plant have approved a new labor agreement.

Union workers at the Harley-Davidson York, Pa., manufacturing plant have approved a new labor agreement, ending a three-week long strike.

The new three-year agreement between the company and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 175 becomes effective immediately.

Harley-Davidson employees at the York facility had been on strike since Feb. 2, after rejecting an initial proposed labor agreement Jan. 31.

IAM Local 175 represents approximately 2,800 production employees at Harley-Davidson's facility in York, which produces the company's Touring and Softail motorcycles and is the company's largest production operation.

"We are eager to get back to work producing motorcycles again," said Fred Gates, General Manager of Harley-Davidson's Operations in York. "Our employees take enormous pride in building the best, highest quality motorcycles in the world and we all look forward to focusing our attention on meeting the needs of our customers."

The new labor agreement provides annual wage increases of four percent in each of the contract's three years. The agreement also establishes a two-tier wage structure which starts employees hired after the contract's effective date at a wage rate that is lower than current employees, but equalizes pay by the end of the contract's term. Unionized employees will also participate in a new health plan that continues to require no employee premium but includes increases in the level of out-of-pocket costs that employees could incur for deductibles and co-pays.

Under the agreement, unionized employees in York continue to be fully covered by the company's traditional non-contributory pension plan. However, for new hires, the agreement reduces the company's match of optional contributions that employees can make to the contributory portion of the plan.

Harley-Davidson's production and distribution facilities in Wisconsin are expected to resume normal operations over the next several weeks. The company's Wisconsin operations experienced reduced production and temporary layoffs of some employees due to the strike. The Wisconsin production facilities supply engines, transmissions and other components to Harley-Davidson's final assembly operations in York and Kansas City.

More in Labor