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Harley employees ratify contract in Milwaukee


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WSAU) – Milwaukee area Harley Davidson workers have approved a labor contract that would keep most of their jobs from going elsewhere.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WTMJ Radio quote members of the United Steelworkers as saying the employees at the Menomonee Falls motorcycle engine plant approved the seven-year deal this morning. The contract passed 619-507.

There was no immediate word on whether Harley workers in Tomahawk did the same.

Harley has said employees at both plants must approve the new contract, or else both will close and the production would be moved to a state where it’s cheaper. Harley had talked about moving the Milwaukee area work to Kansas City.

If the deal is approved, it would take effect in 2012.

Harley says it would still cut at least 200 of the 14-hundred-plus employees in Menomonee Falls, and at least 75 of the 375 jobs in Tomahawk.

Wages would be frozen, and Harley would hire a number of temporary seasonal workers to help the firm adjust to market conditions. Those employees would get just over half of what union members get for the same jobs, with no benefits.