Union: Harley-Davidson will ship work to Thailand from closing U.S. plant

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Leroy N. Soetoro

May 27, 2018, 3:05:39 PM5/27/18

MILWAUKEE -- A labor union for Harley-Davidson believes the nation's best-
known motorcycle maker is closing its factory in Kansas City in order to
move some of the work to a new plant in Thailand.

Harley has said it will close the Kansas City factory despite pleas from
some members of Congress to keep it open and retain about 800 jobs. Harley
says it’s moving the Kansas City work to the company’s plant in York, Pa.,
creating about 400 additional jobs in York.

But in a meeting Wednesday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-
Calif., members of the Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
said at least some of the work was headed to Thailand.

“Part of my job is being moved to York, but the other part is going to
Bangkok,” said Richard Pence, a machinist at the Kansas City plant.

Harley-Davidson has denied there’s a connection between Kansas City and

“The plant under construction in Thailand is a separate and unrelated
issue. Part of our long-term strategy is to grow our international
business to 50 percent of our annual volume by 2027. The Thailand facility
will allow us to be competitive and provide riders greater access to our
brand and our products in an expanding global marketplace,” the company
said in a statement.

Harley-Davidson also has a motorcycle assembly plant in India, where it
builds the company’s popular Street-model bikes for foreign markets.

“Increasing production capacity in Asia is consistent with the company’s
long-term strategy to focus on growth internationally. It is not intended
to reduce U.S. manufacturing,” the company said.

But that case is tough to accept in Kansas City, where the company has
assembled some of its most popular motorcycles since 1997.

“I am being directly affected by a corporate decision that I had no say
in,” said Pence, who has worked at the plant for 21 years and has the
highest seniority ranking in the facility.

Pence, who works in machine maintenance, said engineers from the plant are
going to Thailand to help set up that operation, with trial production
runs expected this summer.

He believes that some of the Kansas City plant’s equipment, too, will be
shipped to Thailand.

“They are going over everything now, getting ready to crate it up,” he

About 35% of the bikes assembled in Kansas City are destined for sale
outside of the U.S., according to Pence, although Harley would not confirm

Asia has been one of the company’s fastest-growing markets, but over the
years it’s also been a market with steep tariffs on U.S.-made motorcycles.

“We have been fighting tariffs for the 21 years I have been employed with
the company. But tariffs are just a fact of life,” Pence said.

The union is critical of Harley for investing in Thailand while also
receiving tax cuts under President Donald Trump’s new corporate tax plan.

“These companies are taking tax breaks with one hand and handing out pink
slips with the other,” said International Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers President Bob Martinez Jr. “I’m going to call it like I
see it ... this is a corporate ambush on working people."

“They should be reinvesting in America,” Pence, the Kansas City employee,

Harley-Davidson has said the Thailand plant will assemble bikes from
components produced at the company’s U.S. facilities.

Harley’s U.S. sales have been sinking in recent years as baby boomers
begin to age out of riding and fewer younger people step up to take their

“Unfortunately there is nothing that could have been done to address the
pressure of excess capacity we have in the U.S. market,” Harley said.

Unions kill more jobs.

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denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
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Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
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The World According To Garp.

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Obama jobs, the result of ObamaCare. 12-15 working hours a week at minimum
wage, no benefits and the primary revenue stream for ObamaCare. It can't
be funded with money people don't have, yet liberals lie about how great
it is.

Obama increased total debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the eight
years he was in office, and sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood queer
liberal democrat donors.
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