Being a resident of Milwaukee I've heard a bit about this, and it has little to do with "greedy unions" actually. Harley has been looking to cut its budget in its operations in Milwaukee to the tune of around $50 million, and the workers have already taken significant cuts. So to blame the unions is just partisan hackery.
Oh, and I can't stand Harley's. If you're going to get a bike then get a real ride and build it yourself for $5000, don't buy a $30,000 piece of **** from Harley. Harley's older stuff was really good, and is still highly regarded by true motorcycle enthusiasts, but the stuff they make now is absolute garbage.
EDIT: This has also been going on for ages, and I'm sick of hearing about it. It's not news unless they actually do it.
Last edited by Khayembii Communique; 08-05-10 at 07:09 PM.
"I do not claim that every incident in the history of empire can be explained in directly economic terms. Economic interests are filtered through a political process, policies are implemented by a complex state apparatus, and the whole system generates its own momentum."
"Loyalty only matters when there's a hundred reasons not to be-" Gen. Mattis
Thats the short answer...
I can go into many anecdotal stories of where the electrical unions have ****ed over their members...where federal union reps have totally ****ed over both sides...the tendency to make it impossible to fire piece of **** workers or ignore criminal behaviors...etc etc etc...but then Im sur eyou would have GREAT stories of how wonderful and effective the unions are. Meanwhile...the auto industry is pretty much GONE...most industrial jobs are gone...and the union has played a part in that.
Make no mistake...I see the value in the early formation of unions. But frankly...their usefulness has pretty much been played out. I know union stewards on military installations that do not **** all all day long except smoke and send out mailings...and when their members come for help they are ignored but if the installation wants to reconfigure an office area...stop the ****ing presses...we have to have an investigation, inspection...cant do it because they didnt get adequate notice, changing phone numbers represents a hardship to their workers...on and on and on...
I cannot think of any other company that has bennefited more from its copyright. As stated about the average HD owner will have a complete head to toe dressing with the HD emblem. They will also have other HD merchandise in their homes.
To me the painting of one's self with the HD emblem can only be topped by a NASCAR driver with all his sponsors plastered over his jumpsuit.
Am just surprized that Harley hasn't come out with a Harley pickup to carry the bikes in.
Years back riding my Kawasaki 1500 to Sturgis I passed another biker with a tee shirt that had on its back " Nice trailer pussy". Those of you ride will understand that shirt.
I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
this assessment was conducted 18 months ago. but it appears to give credence to rumblings that about 50% of the paper HD financed is in some degree of default. reportedly, significant numbers of repo'd bikes are being warehoused to try to maintain vehicle/brand value:
[bold emphasis added by bubba to compare and contrast employee focused results to management caused results]Feb 12 - Fitch Ratings has downgraded Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) and HOG's 100% owned subsidiary, Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Inc. (HDFS) as
listed below. ...
The Rating Outlook on all the ratings is Negative. Fitch's actions affect
approximately $3.2 billion of debt at HDFS and $782 million of debt at HOG. Due
to the existence of a support agreement and demonstrated support by the parent,
HDFS's ratings are linked to those of HOG.
The rating actions are primarily related to developments at HDFS, including
a change in funding profile, which has led to increased borrowing costs,
deteriorating asset quality performance, and reduced operating performance.
The downgrades also reflect a reduced outlook for 2009 sales and margins at
HOG (the manufacturing operations) and higher cash outlays related to pension
and restructuring charges.
The Negative Outlook reflects the weak economic environment, which could
lead to further restructuring actions at HOG if volumes come under additional
pressure; cash outlays related to the company's pension plans in 2009 and 2010,
and dealer profitability.
In addition, the deteriorating economic environment will continue to
pressure consumers and could lead to negative asset quality performance beyond
current expectations at HDFS, which could affect profitability through
additional mark to market losses on loans held for sale, retained interest
impairments, and/or increased provisioning.
The 'A-' rating reflects HOG's brand strength, distribution network, solid
cash generation from its manufacturing operations, good manufacturing operating
margins, and expanding international presence.
Fitch is also concerned with HDFS's long-term alternatives
to fund originations if the capital markets environment remains status quo.
Based on HDFS's historical use of the asset backed securities market ($2.5
billion in 2007, $540 million in 2008), and lower retail origination levels in
2009, Fitch believes HDFS needs approximately $1 billion in financing in 2009
in addition to its available revolving credit facilities to replace
securitization funding used historically.
This funding would allow HDFS to maintain its historical funding volume of
retail U.S. sales at approximately 53%. The company made significant progress
toward the funding goal when HOG issued $600 million in notes last week,
although the 15% coupon will pressure margins in HDFS's operation. Fitch will
look for HDFS to continue to develop and execute contingency funding plans to
meet funding requirements for 2009 and beyond on a cost-effective basis.
If HDFS is unable to obtain all or part of the needed funding, HOG's
motorcycle sales could come under additional pressure if HOG's retail customers
are unable to find alternative financing sources.
Fitch believes HDFS's operating performance will continue to trend weaker
due to the economic and capital markets environment, manifesting itself in
higher provision expenses, charge-offs, and funding costs over the near- to
intermediate-term, with the potential for further retained interest impairments
and additional mark-to-market write-downs on loans held for sale. Fitch assumes
that HDFS's underlying collateral is more discretionary in nature and would
rank well below other assets in terms of priority of payment.
In 2008, total Harley-Davidson brand motorcycles shipments decreased 27,140
units or 8.2% to 303,479 bikes, while retail sales decreased 24,005 units or
7.1% to 313,769 units, indicating seasonally adjusted dealer inventories have
TEXT-Fitch cuts Harley-Davidson issuer default rating | Reuters