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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,
I was reading this article about a strike at Harley-Davidson: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17381385/ and I was wondering how HD (as a company) compares to Honda (as a company) from the perspective of the people who actually build the motorcycles. Things like wage rates, benefits, union representation etc. I am going to look into this, but meantime does anyone have any data?

Given a choice between a Harley and a Honda of equal value, my gut feeling would be to go with the Honda, simply because I know that I am paying American workers to build the thing (in both cases) but the fat cats are getting their share too, and I'd rather feed a fat cat in Japan where they can do less harm (because to the fat cats, we are all more or less mice, know what I mean?)

Thanks,
Scott
 

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Dunno about the Fat Cat issue but I'll buy an American assembled Honda because (a) They're less expensive than a Harley, and (b) I'm Buckeye bred and born, and I'd like my money to help other Buckeyes keep their jobs.

Radar
 
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silvershadow55 said:
Hey folks,
I was reading this article about a strike at Harley-Davidson: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17381385/ and I was wondering how HD (as a company) compares to Honda (as a company) from the perspective of the people who actually build the motorcycles. Things like wage rates, benefits, union representation etc. I am going to look into this, but meantime does anyone have any data?

Given a choice between a Harley and a Honda of equal value, my gut feeling would be to go with the Honda, simply because I know that I am paying American workers to build the thing (in both cases) but the fat cats are getting their share too, and I'd rather feed a fat cat in Japan where they can do less harm (because to the fat cats, we are all more or less mice, know what I mean?)

Thanks,
Scott
Funny I never viewed themm as fat cats. I tend to view them as the ones who take all the financial risks, the investing, marketing , advertising and overseeing risks and who at the end of the day have the most to lose if a comapny goes belly up. Which is way I was always confuse by the hatered of Bill Gates especially when it came mainly from lazy peopel who would not step out and take risks on ther own. Now I understand they do profit quite well, but that is the spoil entitled to those who take the risks.
 

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silvershadow55 said:
Hey folks,
I was reading this article about a strike at Harley-Davidson: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17381385/ and I was wondering how HD (as a company) compares to Honda (as a company) from the perspective of the people who actually build the motorcycles. Things like wage rates, benefits, union representation etc. I am going to look into this, but meantime does anyone have any data?

Given a choice between a Harley and a Honda of equal value, my gut feeling would be to go with the Honda, simply because I know that I am paying American workers to build the thing (in both cases) but the fat cats are getting their share too, and I'd rather feed a fat cat in Japan where they can do less harm (because to the fat cats, we are all more or less mice, know what I mean?)

Thanks,
Scott
Well, although I don't care for Harley's, but I'm not a Harley basher... so..

Where does Honda compare?
Well, first, Honda doesn't have unions in any arena. Most Japanese based
companies don't have unions. They are against the idea of a union.
Most of the major Japanese companies belive in taking care of their employees.
That's one reason they don't have or need unions. When was the last time
you heard of a Japanese company go on strike or complain about their benefits?
They take really good care of their employees.

As far as feeding the fat cats in Japan vs. the fat cats here....
Honda is traded on the US stock exchange. The majority of your money
that you spend on a Honda does not go back to Japan. It goes in to the US economy.
Some of the money American Honda Motors makes does go back to
Honda of Japan in the form of management fees.
On a percentage basis, it's actually very little.

But be aware... Just because Harley is an "American" motorcycle doesn't
mean any money you spend on it isn't going back to Japan.
Take a look:


The "I wouldn't buy Jap made vehicles" doesn't really apply any more.
In the early days (WWII, etc) it was about supporting America and
most of the stuff we used was made in America.
Now, that just isn't the case. Many of the Japanese vehiclesare made
here and many of the American made vehicles are built in Cananda and Mexico.

No matter what you buy, you are putting money in the US economy
and foriegn ecomonies. You just can't get around it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
CrazyDave said:
silvershadow55 said:
Hey folks,
I was reading this article about a strike at Harley-Davidson: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17381385/ and I was wondering how HD (as a company) compares to Honda (as a company) from the perspective of the people who actually build the motorcycles. Things like wage rates, benefits, union representation etc. I am going to look into this, but meantime does anyone have any data?

Given a choice between a Harley and a Honda of equal value, my gut feeling would be to go with the Honda, simply because I know that I am paying American workers to build the thing (in both cases) but the fat cats are getting their share too, and I'd rather feed a fat cat in Japan where they can do less harm (because to the fat cats, we are all more or less mice, know what I mean?)

Thanks,
Scott
Funny I never viewed themm as fat cats. I tend to view them as the ones who take all the financial risks, the investing, marketing , advertising and overseeing risks and who at the end of the day have the most to lose if a comapny goes belly up. Which is way I was always confuse by the hatered of Bill Gates especially when it came mainly from lazy peopel who would not step out and take risks on ther own. Now I understand they do profit quite well, but that is the spoil entitled to those who take the risks.
Hey Dave,
You make a good point and there are those entreprenurial Bill Gates types who do deserve to be rewarded, especially when they give back to society as he does through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (but I must point out that he only started doing this AFTER the antitrust lawsuit.) Andrew Carnegie is another good example of this. But on the other hand there are the Bernie Ebbers and Ken Lays of the world, who drive their companies into the ground and their employees to the poorhouse while reaping tens of millions in personal fortunes. Either way please don't take my 'Fat Cat' comments too seriously; as Litnin points out, there is very little difference anymore in foreign vs. domestic.
 

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Get 'em , Crazy Dave!!!
A couple of quotes that I remember but not the authors.
"A poor man never gave me a job"
"You cannot help the poor man by tearing down the rich man"
Or something like that! 8)
 
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silvershadow55 said:
Hey Dave,
You make a good point and there are those entreprenurial Bill Gates types who do deserve to be rewarded, especially when they give back to society as he does through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (but I must point out that he only started doing this AFTER the antitrust lawsuit.) Andrew Carnegie is another good example of this. But on the other hand there are the Bernie Ebbers and Ken Lays of the world, who drive their companies into the ground and their employees to the poorhouse while reaping tens of millions in personal fortunes. Either way please don't take my 'Fat Cat' comments too seriously; as Litnin points out, there is very little difference anymore in foreign vs. domestic.
Sometimes I wonder which is worse, those who abuse their riches
or those who wallow in their poverty
 

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CrazyDave said:
Funny I never viewed themm as fat cats. I tend to view them as the ones who take all the financial risks, the investing, marketing , advertising and overseeing risks and who at the end of the day have the most to lose if a comapny goes belly up. Which is way I was always confuse by the hatered of Bill Gates especially when it came mainly from lazy peopel who would not step out and take risks on ther own. Now I understand they do profit quite well, but that is the spoil entitled to those who take the risks.
Standing and cheering. 8)
 
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Aeromark99 said:
CrazyDave said:
Funny I never viewed themm as fat cats. I tend to view them as the ones who take all the financial risks, the investing, marketing , advertising and overseeing risks and who at the end of the day have the most to lose if a comapny goes belly up. Which is way I was always confuse by the hatered of Bill Gates especially when it came mainly from lazy peopel who would not step out and take risks on ther own. Now I understand they do profit quite well, but that is the spoil entitled to those who take the risks.
Standing and cheering. 8)
One must remember that I take this position not as a rich man but rather as your average working stiff who must yank out a raise from management like a dentist extractiing a tooth from an unwilling child
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
CrazyDave said:
silvershadow55 said:
Hey Dave,
You make a good point and there are those entreprenurial Bill Gates types who do deserve to be rewarded, especially when they give back to society as he does through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (but I must point out that he only started doing this AFTER the antitrust lawsuit.) Andrew Carnegie is another good example of this. But on the other hand there are the Bernie Ebbers and Ken Lays of the world, who drive their companies into the ground and their employees to the poorhouse while reaping tens of millions in personal fortunes. Either way please don't take my 'Fat Cat' comments too seriously; as Litnin points out, there is very little difference anymore in foreign vs. domestic.
Sometimes I wonder which is worse, those who abuse their riches
or those who wallow in their poverty
Those who abuse their riches, definitely. Because they have the power to do something about it whereas the poor don't. (or at least not as easily.) You may say that the poor can get a job/education or whatever and maybe they can, but society has never made that easy. The rags-to-riches tales of Algernon Swinburne are more myth than reality, and the exceptions (such as Andrew Carnegie, whom I mentioned above) are remarkable precisely because they are exceptions to the rule. Helen Keller had a bit to say about this too, as a wealthy woman who realized that the poor aren't always given a break.
And I hope you are not intending to imply that I am a wallower in my poverty, because I neither wallow nor am impoverished (but neither am I wealthy.) I do seem to be of a more liberal bent than most on this forum however, which is not surprising since I am more liberal than most of the population at large.
 

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The Union decided to strike at York. Or better said, told the employees to go on strike. HD pays all the health care for the employees which is wrong. A 12% pay raise over three years is totally acceptable. I.E... 4% this year, four percent next year and another four % the following year.
Now, if your company offered a company match twice the existing match for your 401k, that is generous.
The typical "employee/employer" health care contribution in the United States is 25% employee and 75% employer. Before the strike it was 100% employer.
Two tier wages. So the new hire is offered $18.25 per hour in York, Pa. and at best has a HS diploma with no trade school education, no apprenticeship or college degree, community or state. Will work as a assembly worker.
Everyone knows the "legend" will cost you twice the price of another V-twin motorcycle. And that is O.K. because they are American.
However, The whole aire about it is starting to stink and the strike is putting this whole Harley Davidson ownership questionable.
Where is the tooling to make HD parts? China? Taiwan? Mexico?
How can the average american buy an american motorcycle if the labor to assemble them is completly out of proportion?
Unions are killing (spoiling) the American. The culture is Union vs employer. Other non-union companies that are successful like Honda don't allow the tension created by organised labor to fester and make the assembly worker want more than they are worth. Just my opinion.
 
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silvershadow55 said:
.
And I hope you are not intending to imply that I am a wallower in my poverty, because I neither wallow nor am impoverished (but neither am I wealthy.) I do seem to be of a more liberal bent than most on this forum however, which is not surprising since I am more liberal than most of the population at large.
Sir I would never imply that.
But what I did mean by that is some do indeed use their lowly stature as a means to exuse their lack of drive and their indulgence is baser evils. When that is exactly what it is an excude.
I have met preachers and others who were unwanted street urchins, who struggled and endured life on the street yet managed to educate themselves, put themselves through college by working two sometimes three jobs. And I have witnessed those who have lost one job and used it as an excuse to shrivel up just wait to die.

Many people complain about poverty here in the united states, yet with a few exceptions what we consider a poverty level here far surpasses the standard of living in a vast majority of other places.

We as a nation have largely become a nation of whiners. We can come up with thousands of excuses as to why we are failing but the bottom line it is ourselves. We gorge ourselves into debt then turn around and blame someone who has money while our own money is being thrown out teh window in interest fees. We want things NOW and then we end up losing them because we did not consider the costs. We as a nation are impatient, and ungrateful and we tend to think that everyone owes us something. I admit I will fight for a raise, but I will also put my ass where my mouth is and I would never dare ask or demand one unless I have the track record of productivity to back me up.
 

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I have never been in a union. But I can understand a union striking if say the Company is making crazy profits and not spreading it down to the people that got them there. Other wise, it will just go back to the shareholders, happy employees are productive employees.

HD has to be making money hand over fist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
CrazyDave said:
silvershadow55 said:
.
And I hope you are not intending to imply that I am a wallower in my poverty, because I neither wallow nor am impoverished (but neither am I wealthy.) I do seem to be of a more liberal bent than most on this forum however, which is not surprising since I am more liberal than most of the population at large.
Sir I would never imply that.
But what I did mean by that is some do indeed use their lowly stature as a means to exuse their lack of drive and their indulgence is baser evils. When that is exactly what it is an excude.
I have met preachers and others who were unwanted street urchins, who struggled and endured life on the street yet managed to educate themselves, put themselves through college by working two sometimes three jobs. And I have witnessed those who have lost one job and used it as an excuse to shrivel up just wait to die.

Many people complain about poverty here in the united states, yet with a few exceptions what we consider a poverty level here far surpasses the standard of living in a vast majority of other places.

We as a nation have largely become a nation of whiners. We can come up with thousands of excuses as to why we are failing but the bottom line it is ourselves. We gorge ourselves into debt then turn around and blame someone who has money while our own money is being thrown out teh window in interest fees. We want things NOW and then we end up losing them because we did not consider the costs. We as a nation are impatient, and ungrateful and we tend to think that everyone owes us something. I admit I will fight for a raise, but I will also put my ass where my mouth is and I would never dare ask or demand one unless I have the track record of productivity to back me up.
Dave, once again I agree with you for the most part, except I would add that we are by and large a nation of whiners no matter what our income level. And I would also point out that a rich guy who is impatient, ungrateful, and thinks everyone owes him something will do much more damage than a poor guy who thinks the same way.
 

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Unions no longer have a place in the American ( or Canadian or Mexican or ANY) economy. As a tour manager for Ingersoll Rand’s 100th birthday, I traveled to just over 100 of their factories. This company has become so big that most employees in one factory had no idea what was made in the 100’s of other factories they owned which is fair enough, I was confused too. But this company produces everything from high speed bolt guns for racing teams, to the equipment that makes roads and golf carts, just to name but a few. One thing that struck me was the huge void that existed between the management and the workers. It was very depressing. I worked with management to plan the events at each factory and then sat there and watched as each worker piled through the display ( on a 15 minute break they would have never had normally). There were places where I met three generations of workers in the same factory and that was all they ever strived for. I was in Shippenville, PA, which is more known for the college and the Amish then the factory. I met a family who had worked for the IR factory for 4 generations and lived in the same house the grandfather had bought. It made me grateful that I had some drive. I was a father at 20 years old and had to do my college at night. I worked three jobs including selling cars and after several years, I finished a degree I knew I didn’t want, but I found that out too far into it to quit. Once educated, I went and worked for Toyota eventually becoming the GM of the first Lexus dealership in Canada. The day that happened to me, I enrolled in engineering school and three years later, with first class honors I walked away with another degree.

So, why the long story. The unions are there to protect the folks who grew up yearning nothing more then to work on the line with dad and bro. Those who have drive can and do find a way to find their niche. That which makes you happy. I am not saying you need a degree or to be wealthy, but to be successful and have a rich life, you need to be happy and realistic. Bill gates knew less then I did about software in 1978. What he did know was that software was going to be the money maker in PCs and he raped the programmer who wrote q-dos. He also blindsided IBM and as a 17 year old, good for him. He deserves his position in life. I do not respect the man. He is rich and if not for his wife, and as mentioned earlier in this thread, the antitrust laws, he may not have ever started the foundation.

So, to me, rich is when you go to sleep with a smile on your face and wake up generally happy. Unions don’t help that happen. Unions, in part, make made in America unrealistically expensive and non competitive.

I am rich, but not wealthy.
 

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CrazyDave said:
Funny I never viewed themm as fat cats. I tend to view them as the ones who take all the financial risks, the investing, marketing , advertising and overseeing risks and who at the end of the day have the most to lose if a comapny goes belly up. Which is way I was always confuse by the hatered of Bill Gates especially when it came mainly from lazy peopel who would not step out and take risks on ther own. Now I understand they do profit quite well, but that is the spoil entitled to those who take the risks.
Some of them take risks, then again some jump into their golden parachutes and head out the door with millions of dollars in bonuses and stock options leaving behind headaches.

Chris
 
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Christopher said:
CrazyDave said:
Funny I never viewed themm as fat cats. I tend to view them as the ones who take all the financial risks, the investing, marketing , advertising and overseeing risks and who at the end of the day have the most to lose if a comapny goes belly up. Which is way I was always confuse by the hatered of Bill Gates especially when it came mainly from lazy peopel who would not step out and take risks on ther own. Now I understand they do profit quite well, but that is the spoil entitled to those who take the risks.
Some of them take risks, then again some jump into their golden parachutes and head out the door with millions of dollars in bonuses and stock options leaving behind headaches.

Chris
In my mind that could be the riskiest thing of all, because that chute may not open where one thinks :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Christopher said:
CrazyDave said:
Funny I never viewed themm as fat cats. I tend to view them as the ones who take all the financial risks, the investing, marketing , advertising and overseeing risks and who at the end of the day have the most to lose if a comapny goes belly up. Which is way I was always confuse by the hatered of Bill Gates especially when it came mainly from lazy peopel who would not step out and take risks on ther own. Now I understand they do profit quite well, but that is the spoil entitled to those who take the risks.
Some of them take risks, then again some jump into their golden parachutes and head out the door with millions of dollars in bonuses and stock options leaving behind headaches.
Bingo. Exactly my point.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Chris,
I've read many of your posts and I think you are a smart guy and really respect what you've got to say. So your take on unions is interesting to me, though I cannot really comment since I've never been in a union or had much exposure to them since I've never been in any sort of industry (like car manufacturing) where unions have a large presence. I like the fact that you said "no longer necessary" instead of "never necessary" since I think it's quite obvious that many years ago unions were a positive boon. For just one example, in 1936 GM had a sit-in strike (pre-union, I think, but that's irrelevant) and management responded by hiring baseball-bat-toting goons to drive the workers out. By 1937 GM was unionized and working conditions improved, but now of course 'legacy' costs are hurting GM. So are they (unions) necessary? I don't know, but I do tend to think that those companies that actively and vigorously oppose unionization (Walmart, McDonalds are two that come to mind) are not doing so because they have their employee's best interests at heart.
On the other hand, my brother is a teamster, not because he necessarily wants to be, but because he could not get his job (he drives an ambulance) without becoming a member and paying his monthly dues. I think union membership should be voluntary, just like wearing a helmet should be.
I'm a little confused though by how you mentioned the disconnect between management and employees. Do you view this as a result of union membership and if so, why?
thanks again,
Scott
 
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