John Deere's Waterloo assembly plant in Iowa. Since 1986, the United Auto Workers have not declared a strike against Deere. via Associated Press
At midnight Wednesday night, approximately 10,000 workers from John Deere, an agricultural equipment manufacturer, went on strike. This was the start of one of America's largest work stopspages in recent times.
The strike will have an impact on production at 14 facilities in Iowa and Illinois.
A tentative agreement between Deere, their union, and the United Auto Workers was rejected by workers overwhelming. Both sides will be able to return to the bargaining table in order to reach a solution.
According to the UAW, members have set up picket lines a few hundred yards from Deere plants.
John Deere members are on strike to secure a decent living, dignity retirement and fair work rules. Chuck Browning, director of UAWs Agricultural Implement Department said this in a statement. We will continue to bargain until our members' goals are met.
1986 was the last time that Deere was reprimanded by the UAW.
Managers at Deere spent days trying to convince workers about the benefits of the contract proposal. According to Labor Notes details, the deal would have maintained workers' current health insurance plan, which does not require premiums. However, the total pay increase offered was 11% over six year. The contract would have guaranteed that new workers would receive lower retirement benefits than their current employees.
Many Deere employees had hoped to abolish the 1997 two-tier system that reduced benefits for retirees and their pensions. The latest Deere proposal would instead expand on this system and eliminate defined-benefit retirement plans for new hires.
1986 was the last time John Deere was harmed by the UAW.
Labor Notes reported that the offer does not address the decades-old grievances of workers against Deere.
Chuck Browning, Vice President of UAW, stated in a statement that Sunday's vote of 90% of Deere workers against the contract. This sent the union back at the table to seek more from Deere. Local affiliates of the unions have filled their Facebook pages with comments from members unhappy with the company and the union, and seem eager to strike.
NO EXTENSIONS! One comment is typical. It's our time to make some decent money and get a great contract.
Although the current six-year collective bargaining arrangement expired on Oct. 1, Deere and the union agreed to extend it while they negotiate further. Since 1980, the UAW represents production workers at the company.
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Because the company is doing well and there is high demand for farm machinery, workers expect to be paid more. The record profits of $1.79 Billion were reported by the company for the second quarter 2021. This is higher than the $1.22 Billion record.
The Deere strike is just one of a number of major strikes that have erupted in the U.S. Private Sector recently. It reflects how dissatisfied unionized employees are with what they are offered by their employers. To pressure their employers into providing more, workers at Frito-Lay and Kelloggs went on strike.
Some 60,000 TV and film workers have already authorized a strike against the studios. 21,000 nurses and other health workers have also authorized one against Kaiser Permanente.