Harley-Davidson Workers Face Temporary Layoffs

Motorcycle maker will temporarily close select plants in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Kansas City, Mo.

YORK, Pa. (AP) — About 2,800 Harley-Davidson workers will be idled for a week this fall when the company temporarily closes its York County plant.
 
The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker, which continues to face low dealer sales, told workers that it will shut down its assembly plants in Springettsbury Township and Kansas City, Mo., for the week of Nov. 26.
 
Harley-Davidson also will shut down three operations in Wisconsin that week, the company announced Friday.
 
The company will not pay its employees during the shutdown but will continue their health care coverage, company officials said. All laid-off workers will be recalled after the shutdown.
 
Harley-Davidson expects third-quarter shipments to total between 86,000 and 88,000 motorcycles. Previously, the company had expected to ship between 91,000 to 95,000 motorcycles in that period.
 
''The company regrets the temporary impact the shipment reduction will have on so many of its employees as well as its dealers, suppliers and customers,'' company spokeswoman Rebecca Bortner said in an e-mail. ''The company believes this solution is the best option for balancing the needs of our stakeholders while doing what's right for the long-term prosperity of the company.''
 
Several employees of the Springettsbury plant said Saturday that if a planned weeklong closure in November is necessary, they have no problem with it.
 
''They've got to do what they've got to do to keep the plant running,'' said Tim Wagaman, a 12-year employee.
 
Besides, that week is already a short week when many employees take time off for deer hunting, said Mark Rhodes, an auto polish operator at the plant.
 
''It's a good business strategy move,'' said Rhodes, a 17-year employee. ''I kind of like the move as opposed to having a massive layoff.''
 
Earlier this year, workers at the Springettsbury plant went on strike for three weeks when contract negotiations fell through. Workers approved a three-year contract on Feb. 22.
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