About 10,000 workers are ready to walk off the job Thursday
By Diego Flammini
Thousands of John Deere employees will strike Thursday morning if the company and the union representing its workers don’t come to an agreement.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) and about 10,000 employees in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas recently rejected a deal from the company and have set a strike deadline.
“The tentative agreement reached by the UAW and John Deere was rejected (Sunday) evening by a majority of 90% of the membership. The UAW negotiating team will report immediately to Moline, (Ill.) on Monday. A strike deadline has been set for 11:59 pm, Wednesday, October 13th,” UAW Vice President Chuck Browning said in a statement.
John Deere is disappointed the two sides haven’t been able to reach an agreement.
"After weeks of negotiations, John Deere reached tentative agreements with the UAW that would have made the best wages and most comprehensive benefits in our industries significantly better for our employees," Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company, said in an Oct. 10 statement. "John Deere remains fully committed to continuing the collective bargaining process in an effort to better understand our employees' viewpoints. In the meantime, our operations will continue as normal."
UAW posted the contract on its website for workers to view.
Part of the contract includes wage increases for workers.
It includes 5 and 6 percent increase for some workers effective Oct. 4, and 3 percent increases in 2023 and 2025.
“By increasing wages and adding things like a cost of living adjustment and lump sum payments, your annual earnings are projected to grow significantly today and over the life of the agreement,” John Deere said on its One John Deere site, where employees can go for company information.
Given that John Deere forecasted its full-year earnings for 2021 between $5.7 and $5.9 billion, employees want to be compensated for their roles in the company’s success.
“They left us behind,” a worker told The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. “They had a great, great few years, and they obviously showed us that they thought so. I was hoping they were going to be (giving raises) to us but it seems like they still want us, our pay, and benefits to keep declining.”
If the John Deere employees do strike, farmers could be affected too.
A labor dispute and potential parts issues during harvest isn’t ideal.
“It’s a little disconcerting to me that there’s a potential strike because the window for harvest for farmers in the fall is a fairly narrow window,” Joe Dierickx, an Iowa cash crop producer, told OurQuadCities.