Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current, August 24, 2018, Page 23, Image 23

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    NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS | August 24, 2018 | PAGE 23
Machinists say
Harley isn’t playing
straight with jobs
Rob Etulain
By Mark Gruenberg
Press Associates Inc
Harley-Davidson, the iconic and
unionized U.S. motorcycle man-
ufacturer, is using the Trump Ad-
ministration’s tariffs on European
goods—and Europe’s retaliation
against motorcycles and other
U.S. products — as an excuse to
move jobs overseas, which it had
planned to do anyway, Machin-
ists Union officials say.
Machinists General President
Bob Martinez called the firm’s
announcement “the latest slap in
the face to loyal, highly skilled
workers” who make Harleys in
Kansas City, Missouri; Milwau-
kee, Wisconsin; and York, Penn-
Machinists Local 176 Busi-
ness Representative Bob Capra,
whose union represents 800
workers at the soon-to-be-closed
Kansas City plant, told National
Public Radio that Trump’s tariffs
“were just the excuse,” because
“they (Harley) have been going
overseas for some time.”
Steelworkers Local 760 also
represents some Harley workers
in Kansas City.
Harley announced June 25 that
Europe’s retaliatory tariffs against
the cycles made it uneconomical
to make them in Kansas City and
ship them to London and Paris,
capitals of the two biggest Harley
markets in Europe. Harley said,
instead, it would build a plant in
Thailand to ship the motorcycles
to Europe.
That statement contradicts a
letter Harley sent to the two
union presidents earlier this year,
with copies to local political
leaders, saying it would close the
plant and shift its 800 jobs to the
sister plant in York.
That didn’t blunt Martinez’s
basic point about Harley sending
good union jobs to low-wage
countries. “Will Harley use any
excuse to ship jobs overseas?
Does Harley even understand
what ‘Made in America’ means,”
Martinez asked.
“These companies are taking
tax breaks with one hand and
handing out pink slips with the
other,” said Martinez. “I’m go-
ing to call it like I see it. This is
a corporate ambush on working
At a press conference in June,
Democratic politicians joined
Harley workers in denouncing
Trump. The Dems, however,
blamed the move on the Trump-
GOP corporate tax cut.