Some of Harley Davidson’s union employees in Wisconsin say their employer has bullied them with threats of moving production out of state. The long time Wisconsin manufacturer’s recent activity has created a bit of a backlash among workers and may affect its image among consumers says branding expert Deborah Mitchell at UW-Madison.
“It really is dependant on the mood of the country…it’s working people against working people,” says Mitchell who believes such an iconic brand can leaded to polarization. Some believe in a down economy workers should be happy to have a job, others say the companies has strong-armed loyal employees.
The motorcycle maker as an American icon can play well overseas, as Harley has been focusing on exports in recent years. However Mitchell says the sales cannot replace a dwindling American consumer base.
Union members in Menomonee Falls and Tomahawk Monday approved a contract deal that included major concessions.