With 800 Harley-Davidson employees out of a job effective May 24, 2019 it could have been worse for the US manufacturing industry. Harley could have moved production to Mexico or overseas. Instead production moved to Harley’s York, Pennsylvania plant, which recently underwent a 150 million dollar expansion.
Ironically only 10 years ago the York, PA plant was on the proverbial chopping block as Harley considered shuttering the York plant and moving production off shore.
While the York, PA plant will pickup an additional 450 employees, the work force at the newly expanded plant still represents a net loss of 350 manufacturing jobs that workers in Kansas City once held.
As consumer demand for products declines, manufacturing becomes more automated and shareholders demand more return on their investment, gone are the days of guaranteed employment in the manufacturing industry. While Harley appears to be investing in American manufacturing, albeit marginally, it is doing so by reducing their workforce in order to keep themselves profitable for their shareholders.
Workers at the York plant should use what happened in Kansas City as a cautionary tale because gone are the days when employment until retirement is guaranteed. Employees need to invest in themselves and their skill set in order to remain marketable to future employers should they find themselves at the receiving end of a job loss because their employer has decided to move production somewhere else.