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Workers’ rights advocacy group recognizes profitable companies that respect workers’ unions at award ceremony on March 3
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2005

CONTACT:
Kimberly Freeman
202-822-2127, ext. 111
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WASHINGTON, DC-While many employers are adopting business practices that send jobs oversees, cut benefits, and suppress the rights of workers to negotiate the terms of their employment through unions, others have taken the high road.

At an awards ceremony on March 31, national workers' rights advocacy group American Rights at Work will honor Harley-Davidson Motor Company for bucking the offshoring trend, building a new U.S. plant, and achieving record profits while working in partnership with its employees' unions.

"Harley-Davidson Motor Company is an American cultural icon not only for the products it manufactures, but for showing its competitors that good business starts with respecting workers' rights," says David Bonior, Chair of American Rights at Work. 

While many companies pay lip service to employee relations, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the heavyweight bike manufacturer and Fortune 500 company, has demonstrated a solid commitment to keeping jobs in the United States and valuing the talent and dedication of its employees.  The company recovered from near bankruptcy in the 1980s by working in partnership with its employees and the unions representing them, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (the Machinists) and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE). 

Harley-Davidson Motor Company chose not to follow the lead of countless manufacturers who went oversees for cheap labor.  In 1997, the motorcycle maker decided to build a new plant in Kansas City, MO, and offer good wages and benefits.  The plant's highly interactive manufacturing process gives workers input over every aspect of production to improve quality and efficiency.  To prevent employees from working themselves out of a job, the company and unions created an agreement providing workers with job security and retraining when necessary.  This partnership has enabled Harley-Davidson Motor Company to expand in the United States, stay competitive, and go on to achieve record revenues and Wall Street accolades.

In recognition for these achievements, American Rights at Work will honor Harley-Davidson Motor Company at its first annual Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Awards ceremony on March 31.  Karl Eberle, Vice President and General Manager of Kansas City Vehicle and Powertrain Operations, will accept the award.  Richard Doyle, PACE President of Local #5-760 Kansas City, MO, will also attend. 

The award is named after Eleanor Roosevelt, a long-time union member who was instrumental in the passage of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the right to form and join trade unions.'"  Says Bonior, "The award celebrates individuals and organizations like Harley-Davidson Motor Company that advance the understanding of workers' rights as a cornerstone of human rights and social justice."

Other honorees include Catholic Healthcare West, visionary artist and activist Ossie Davis, and the Student Labor Action Project. Actor Brad Whitford of NBC's "The West Wing," who is also an American Rights at Work board member, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC on March 31.

For additional information on American Rights at Work and the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Awards ceremony, please contact Kimberly Freeman at 202-822-2127 ext. 111 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
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