Iconic American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson was a beneficiary of the massive tax giveaway to corporations and the wealthiest individuals, thanks to con-man and greed head Donald "Rump" Trump and his Rethuglican Congress. They reaped the benefits of a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. So did the company announce pay increases for its workers? Price reductions for its customers? No, it announced a net layoff of 350 jobs from the closure of its Kansas City, MO plant, deciding instead to plow the tax savings into stock buybacks ($696 million worth) and increased stockholder dividends. To add insult to job loss, Harley-Davidson is opening a production facility in Thailand this year.
Harley workers should remember Rump's statement regarding Harley-Davidson in February 2017 at a White (Supremacist) House photo op:
“I think you’re going to even expand — I know your business is now doing very well, and there’s a lot of spirit right now in the country that you weren’t having so much in the last number of months that you have right now.”The irony of Rump's statement that Harley-Davidson was going to expand -- yes, but in Thailand -- should be a clear warning to those workers that put their faith in him bringing back U.S. industry and jobs. Stockholders and corporate executives are "now doing very well," industrial workers not so much. The Kansas City plant closing was handled harshly by Harley executives:
"Just over a month after Trump signed the tax cuts into law, the Kansas City closure was announced. Workers found out when they arrived at the plant that morning: They were kept in the hallway, informed that the factory would be shut, and sent home for the rest of the day without pay. The union had no advance warning, said Greg Tate, a staff representative for the United Steelworkers District 11, which represents about 30 percent of the Harley-Davidson plant’s workers."As the workers in Kansas City watch equipment from their plant being disassembled and crated, likely bound for Thailand, Tate noted:
“They have the capital now to move Kansas City, to shut it down,” he said. “All of that money really came from the tax cut plan, so it kind of had the opposite effect of what it was supposed to do.”Actually no, Mr. Tate. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. The con worked.