Harley-Davidson is blaming newly-imposed European Union tariffs on U.S.-made motorcycles for the company’s most recent plans to offshore production. Harley-Davidson already has plants in Brazil and India, and plans to open another this year in Thailand.
“Harley workers are left wondering if Harley is still committed to manufacturing in America,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “Isn’t Harley afraid that replacing ‘Made in America’ with ‘Made in Thailand’ will destroy their iconic brand? If the EU rescinds its tariffs, will Harley drop its plans to offshore more production? This is looking like just another excuse by Harley to justify moving more American jobs offshore.”
On January 30, shortly after receiving a massive corporate tax break, Harley-Davidson announced that its Kansas City, MO facility would close and 600 IAM members would lose their jobs. Machinists Union members work at Harley manufacturing facilities in Kansas City; York, PA; and Milwaukee.
“Kansas City is suffering the consequences of Harley-Davidson’s continued neglect of its North American workforce and ridership,” Martinez said at the time.
In March, the Machinists called on President Trump to question Harley’s decision. Members of the Missouri congressional delegation sent a letter to Harley’s CEO urging him to “reconsider the decision to close the plant.”
Harley as recently as February stood by its decision to close down its plant in Kansas City while opening operations in Thailand.