Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle company, is set to lay off hundreds of American workers at its Kansas City, Missouri factory while creating jobs in Thailand.
After laying off nearly 200 American manufacturing workers last year, as Breitbart News reported, Harley-Davidson is expected to fully close its Kansas City manufacturing facility, leaving 800 workers out of work.
Harley-Davidson executives say about 400 jobs will be sent to the corporation’s York, Pennsylvania manufacturing plant, but union workers allege their jobs are being sent overseas to Thailand.
In remarks to USA Today, a manufacturing worker who’s been at Harley-Davidson for more than 20 years will lose his job at the Kansas City Harley-Davidson facility. He says his job is going to Bangkok, Thailand, where the corporation is expanding jobs.
“Part of my job is being moved to York, but the other part is going to Bangkok,” manufacturing worker Richard Pence told USA Today.
“I am being directly affected by a corporate decision that I had no say in,” Pence continued.
Harley-Davidson, though, claims that while its laying off Americans and expanding jobs in Thailand, the two projects are “unrelated.”
Harley-Davidson executives said in a statement:
The plant under construction in Thailand is a separate and unrelated issue. Part of our long-term strategy is to grow our international business to 50 percent of our annual volume by 2027. The Thailand facility will allow us to be competitive and provide riders greater access to our brand and our products in an expanding global marketplace.
Increasing production capacity in Asia is consistent with the company’s long-term strategy to focus on growth internationally. It is not intended to reduce U.S. manufacturing.
Harley-Davidson famously opposed President Trump’s pro-American tariffs on steel and aluminum, saying the decision would hit their profits, as Breitbart News reported. Harley-Davidson, though, was protected by tariffs in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, when he raised tariffs on imported motorcycles. At the time, Harley-Davidson was “delighted” by the tariffs.
In 2016, Harley-Davidson decided to contract the outsourcing firm Infosys, which is responsible for the displacement of hundreds of thousands of American workers who have had their jobs sent overseas.
As outsourcing expert Patrick Thibodeau reported at the time, Harley-Davidson uses the H-1B visa to outsource American jobs to foreign nationals, while also outsourcing their IT department.