By Bianca Flowers
Aug 17 (Reuters) - Harley-Davidson Inc and union employees at the manufacturer's York, Pennsylvania, facility voted on Tuesday night to ratify a five-year contract agreement for wage increases and improved benefits for plant workers.
The agreement comes as union workers across the machinery and aerospace sectors push for better retirement benefits, fair wages amid high inflation and safer working conditions. Earlier this month, Boeing Co managed to avert a strike by union workers after the company revised its contract offer.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which represents 1,300 Harley workers and 2,500 Boeing employees, said in a statement that members' resilience had secured a better contract. Union employees voted unanimously to reject a tentative contract between Harley and IAM officials in June.
The union did not detail all changes in the contract, but said the agreement ended a two-tier wage system, in which Tier 2 workers were paid $5 per hour less than Tier 1 workers who were hired before 2010.
"The solidarity paid off, and together the membership won the day, eliminating the two-tier wage system," Kermit Forbes, district representative for IAM, said in the statement.
Harley-Davidson was pleased with the outcome, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Bianca Flowers in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis)