Worker for Harley-Davidson from across the U.S. are reeling following a new report has revealed that a plant closure as well as layoffs were planned even though the company expected to receive huge benefits financially from the new corporate tax cut.
The motorcycle maker, based in Milwaukee, benefited from the new cuts in corporate taxes that began on January 1, but announced late in January more than 350 jobs cuts in different areas across the U.S. and February 5 approved an increase in its dividend of a half-cent and the buyback of as much as 15 million shares.
One welder said that the workers did all that Harley-Davidson asked of them and to have it then blow up in their face is disappointing. The welder has been employed by Harley-Davidson for 17 years in its Kansas City, Missouri plant.
When the motorcycle maker announced that it would be slashing 800 jobs in January when it closed its plant in Kansas City at some point prior to the fall of 2019, the welder said he and his fellow workers were in shock. He called it a bad dream they were in and could not get out of.
During May of 2017, Harley-Davidson announced that it would increase its workforce at the plant in Kansas City by 118 to consolidate its Softail cruisers and would lay of that same number of employees at its facility in Springsettsbury Township, which is close to York, Pennsylvania.
Now with the closure of the Kansas City plant, 450 positions will be added at the Pennsylvania plant but a loss of 350 positions will occur overall.
The company, just days after announcing the closure of the plant, announced that it would increase the dividend that would cost $846,000 and the new stock buyback program would cost them another $696 million both to benefit its shareholders.
All that came following the company’s tax cut to 21 % from 35% and its announcements previously during last year that it would open a new assembly plant for motorcycles in Thailand near the end of 2018.
The company insists that the increase in dividend and its stock buyback are not related to the tax savings and that the plant in Bangkok is not related to the closure of the KC plant.
The motorcycle maker has said that the closing of the KC plant was a difficult decision to make but a necessary one due to sales in the U.S. declining and the company had to address the excess it has in capacity.