In his State of the Union address, President Trump said: “for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.”
Here is the reality:
- Net Loss of 350 US Jobs: Just hours before the speech, Harley-Davidson—the world’s largest manufacturer of heavyweight motorcycles—had sadder news for American workers: The company is closing its plant in Kansas City, MO, eliminating about 800 jobs. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee-based manufacturer will add 450 jobs, some part-time, to its York, PA, facility, for a net loss of at least 350 US jobs.
- Sales Declining: Meeting with Harley-Davidson executives last February, Trump said: “I think you’re going to even expand. I know your business is now doing very well.” But, last year, the company’s sales fell 8.5 percent in the US and 3.9 percent internationally.
- Expanding Overseas: “We’re proud of you! Made in America, Harley-Davidson,” Mr. Trump told the company’s executives at the meeting last year, while five of its motorcycles rumbled on the White House lawn. But the iconic American company announced last May that it is building a plant in Thailand, along with existing factories in Brazil and India.
- Unions Frozen Out: In September, the Machinists and Steelworkers unions, which represent most of its production workers, called a halt to a two-decade partnership with Harley-Davidson. The workers did their part to keep the company competitive, taking responsibility for quality and even accepting wage freezes. But union leaders said they weren’t notified before the layoffs began.