10,000 John Deere employees are on strike
A tentative agreement between the company and their union, United Auto Workforce, was rejected by the workers.
At midnight Wednesday evening, more than 10,000 workers at John Deere farm equipment company went on strike, triggering one of the largest work stoppages in recent years in the United States.
The production of 14 factories in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas will be affected by the strike.
A tentative agreement reached between Deere and their union, the United Auto Workers, was flatly rejected by the workers. The strike will force both parties to return to the bargaining table in order to reach an agreement.
The UAW reported that members formed picket lines outside Deere factories.
“Our John Deere members are on strike so they can earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish a level playing field,” Chuck Browning, director of the UAW’s agricultural tools department, said in a statement. “We remain committed to negotiating until our members’ goals are met.
The last time the UAW went on strike against Deere was in 1986.
Deere executives had spent the days leading up to the walkout trying to persuade employees of the benefits of the proposed contract. According to Labor Notes, the deal would have kept in place the current workers’ health care plan, which does not require bonuses, but the total wage increase offered was 11% over six years, and the contract would have ensured that new workers receive fewer retirement benefits. than current employees.
Many Deere employees hoped to see the end of the “two tier” structure, which reduced pension and retirement benefits for those hired after 1997. Instead, Deere’s current proposal would build on this arrangement. abolishing defined benefit pensions altogether for new hires in the future.
According to Labor Notes, the proposal “does not remedy the decades-long grievances workers have against Deere.” According to a local union leader, “members are not in the mood for another concession contract.”
In a statement released Sunday, UAW Vice President Chuck Browning said 90 percent of Deere employees voted against the contract in a ratification vote, sending the union back to the bargaining table for demand more from the company. The Facebook sites of local union affiliates were inundated with comments from dissatisfied members of both the company and the union and seemed eager to strike.
“NO EXTENSION !!!!” read a typical comment. “It’s our time to make some decent money and get a good contract.”
The current six-year collective agreement expired on October 1, but the union and Deere agreed to extend it while continuing negotiations. For nearly 80 years, the UAW has represented the company’s production workers.
Workers expect more because the business is doing so well, which has been helped by the growing demand for farm equipment. The company reported a record profit of $ 1.79 billion for the second quarter of 2021, breaking the previous quarter’s record of $ 1.22 billion.
The Deere strike is the latest in a series of major private sector work stoppages in the United States, demonstrating how unhappy union workers are with what their employers are giving them. Workers at Frito-Lay, Nabisco and Kellogg’s have all gone on strike to pressure their companies to supply more.
Meanwhile, 60,000 film and television workers authorized a strike against the studios, while 21,000 nurses and other healthcare workers authorized a walkout against Kaiser Permanente.
The strike deadline was set for October 18 by cinema workers. If they strike, it will be the largest private sector strike in the United States since 2007.