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Harley-Davidson to eliminate positions at Springettsbury plant

Written by Gary Haber/York Daily Record | Sep 1, 2016 7:50 AM
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Harley-Davidson plans to eliminate 117 unionized positions at its Springettsbury Township plant. (Photo: File)

The reductions are among 200 positions being cut at Harley-Davidson plants in the U.S.

(Undated) -- Harley-Davidson said Wednesday it plans to eliminate some unionized positions at its Springettsbury Township plant. The president of the local union said it's 117 positions.

Workers were notified at a town hall meeting Wednesday, said Brian Zarilla, president of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local 175.

Layoffs will begin around Oct. 10 and finish by the end of November, Zarilla said.

Bernadette Lauer, a Harley spokeswoman, said in an email, "We continually evaluate industry and market changes to provide the best products and services to our customers."

"To that end, we are adjusting our production plan to align with 2016 guidance and we are making the necessary changes to right-size the company," Lauer said.

When Harley announced second-quarter earnings on July 28, it said it expects to ship about 5,000 fewer motorcycles to dealers around the world this year than previously expected.

The company trimmed its forecast to 264,000 to 269,000 motorcycles shipped in 2016, down from a previous forecast of 269,000 to 274,000.

The reductions at Harley's Springettsbury Township facility are among 200 positions Harley is eliminating at its U.S. plants, Lauer said.

Harley had about 2,000 hourly workers in Springettsbury Township as late as 2009. Now, about 950 members of IAM Local 175 work there, Zarilla said.

The exact number of people who will be laid off isn't known at this point. Some of the reductions will come from not filling vacant positions, Lauer said.

Zarilla said Harley has offered the plant's Tier 1 production employees -- those hired before Feb. 2, 2010 -- a $15,000 buyout if they agree to leave the company. That could further reduce the number of people who would be laid off.

However, Zarilla doesn't think the offer will be popular among workers. He expects no more than 10 employees to accept it.

Eligible workers have until Sept. 16 to decide.

Lauer, the Harley spokeswoman declined to discuss the buyout offer Zarilla mentioned.

"We do not disclose this type of information," she said in an email.

Lauer said Harley plans to eliminate about 100 full-time, regular positions in Springettsbury and 15 "casual" positions -- workers who fill in for workers who are on vacation, or as otherwise needed.

Zarilla put the total at 117 -- 102 regular positions and 15 casual positions.

The casual workers are heavily used, Zarilla said. They work on a regular basis, and have worked for the company for years.

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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