MILWAUKEE – It was a rough last week for Harley-Davidson with a union asserting in a news story that the motorcycle manufacturer is engaging in “a corporate ambush on working people” by shipping jobs overseas, with another news report questioning whether the company has something to hide after it banned the press from its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.
A story in “USA Today” said members of Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers met Wednesday with House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and told her that “at least some of the work” done at a Kansas City plant that is being closed is being shipped to Thailand.
“Part of my job is being moved to York, but the other part is going to Bangkok,” said Richard Pence, a machinist who has worked at the Kansas City plant for 21 years. Some 800 workers are losing their jobs in Kansas City, although the company is creating about 400 additional jobs n York, PA. Harley-Davidson has denied a connection between Kansas City and Thailand.
The “USA Today story continued, 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.”
Said Pence, “They should be reinvesting in America.”
Meanwhile, the banning of reporters from the annual shareholder meeting “left some shareholders and business experts wondering why,” the “Journal Sentinel” newspaper reported. The company previously allowed media coverage, but has been faced with declining sales and a declining stock price of late.
The story continued, Keeping the press out could be seen as a ‘red flag’ that a company is hiding something, said Matteo Arena, an associate professor of finance and department chairman at Marquette University.”
The professor added, “It just invites more media scrutiny after the meeting. It’s not a best practice.”
– By Bud Wilkinson