Steelworkers, Harley-Davidson Reach Deal In Wisconsin

Investment from company will expand power train capacity, create new jobs and provide security for existing employees.

Steelworkers in Milwaukee approved a labor agreement with Harley-Davidson that requires an investment of more than $120 million from the company to expand production of the power-train capacity in the city.

The agreement would create more than 100 new jobs and secure the existing jobs of 1,600 union members, and would also allow the company to hire new employees at a lower wage rate.

The lowest wage rate for new hires will be $18.25 an hour for power-train production jobs. The union-negotiated training program, however, encourages workers to move up to machine operator positions that have a $24.42-an-hour salary.

Current employees will have COLA payments suspended until 2012 and new hires will not be eligible to participate in a contributory annuity that is administered by the company. The labor agreement expires April 1, 2008, and all items that have not been specifically covered in the memorandum of understanding will be up for bargaining.

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