About Us  |  About Cheetah®  |  Contact Us

Harley Davidson and unions agree to contract, keeping motorcycle company in Wisconsin

The motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson, Inc, has agreed to new, seven-year contracts with its employees represented by the United Steel Workers (USW) and International Association of Machinists employed at factories in Wisconsin. The international union said that the new contracts, agreed to by two separate locals, will offer higher wages, and will safeguarding medical benefits. Additionally, under a new, tiered wage system, newly-hired skilled workers who start at a lower wage than more experienced employees, will be able to progress to the top rate over four years. The contracts will cover the approximately 2,200 workers at the factories.

The USW was most proud of a new provision that it says will assist its membership in covering their health insurance deductibles. Under the new contracts, each employee will receive a $2,000 annual credit in a health savings program called a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA).Those credits, which are available to employees through a debit card, can be used on a variety of medical care costs and the balance on the account rolls over every year and can also be accessed post-retirement or after a job change. Spouses or other eligible dependents, following an employee’s death, can use the HRA balance until it is exhausted.

USW negotiator Steve Brady said that the credit will be sufficient to cover the maximum amount of annual out-of-pocket expenses that its members could be required to pay within a network of health care providers.

“If members and their dependants are able to receive medical care in network, you can use a swipe card and never pay anything out of pocket,” Brady said.

The company was pleased that it was able to reach an agreement, thereby keeping its operations in Wisconsin, a result that was uncertain when the company began negotiations.

“Change is never easy, and we have asked our employees to make difficult decisions. However, we are pleased to be keeping production operations in our hometown of Milwaukee and in Tomahawk,” said Keith Wandell, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Together, we are making the necessary changes across our entire company to succeed in a competitive, global marketplace while continuing to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”