Deere & Company workers strike at 14 facilities across U.S.

In a news release Oct. 14, John Deere officials have said the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America has called a strike against Deere & Company affecting more than 10,000 workers at 14 facilities across the United States.

Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company said John Deere is committed to a favorable outcome for “our employees, our communities and everyone involved.”

“We are determined to reach an agreement with the UAW that would put every employee in a better economic position and continue to make them the highest paid employees in the agriculture and construction industries,” Morris said. “We will keep working day and night to understand our employees’ priorities and resolve this strike, while also keeping our operations running for the benefit of all those we serve.”

Deere & Company does not currently have an estimate of when employees affected by the strike will resume activities or the timing for completion of negotiations with the UAW.

According to a news release dated Aug. 17, the current six-year master agreement covers approximately 10,100 production and maintenance employees at 12 Deere facilities and expired Oct.1.

In Iowa, the facilities are Davenport Works, Des Moines Works, Dubuque Works, Ottumwa Works, and Waterloo Works, including Tractor and Cab Assembly, Engine Works, and the Foundry. In Illinois, the facilities are Harvester Works in East Moline, North American Parts Distribution Center in Milan, and the Seeding Group and Cylinder Division in Moline. In Kansas, there is one facility, Coffeyville Works.

A separate agreement also is being negotiated to cover nearly 100 production and maintenance employees at Deere parts facilities in Denver and Atlanta.

Over its history, Deere has worked constructively with organized labor to provide competitive compensation and rewarding careers allowing employees, their families, and communities to prosper.

“We are proud of the nearly 80 years of collaboration with our employees and the UAW,” Morris said in the August release. “We look forward to honoring the contributions of our employees through the bargaining process and reaching an agreement that demonstrates a vision for our shared success—and the success of all those who rely on us—well into the future.”

Union side

UAW Vice President and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department, Chuck Browning said the members at John Deere are on strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules.

“We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved,” Browning stated in an Oct. 14 news release.

Almost one million UAW retirees and active members are standing in solidarity with the striking members according to UAW President Ray Curry.

“UAW John Deere members have worked through the pandemic after the company deemed them essential, to produce the equipment that feeds America, builds America and powers the American economy,” Curry said in the statement. “These essential UAW workers are showing us all that through the power of a strong united union voice on the picket line they can make a difference for working families here and throughout the country.”

Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4 said more than 10,000 members at John Deere locations have set up pickets. Members have organized and are ready to hold out and fight for a contract they believe fits their needs.

“Our members and their families appreciate the community support they have already gotten,” McInroy said. “Strikes are not easy, but some things are worth fighting for.”

The jobs held by these workers are skilled and tedious, according to Mitchell Smith, UAW Region 8 director.

“Strikes are never easy on workers or their families but John Deere workers believe they deserve a better share of the pie, a safer workplace, and adequate benefits,” Smith said.

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National news

News outlets across the U.S. are reporting revenue for Deere reached $32.7 billion in the first three quarters of their fiscal year. This is up 11% from the same time period in 2019. Net income soared to a record $4.7 billion.

Some outlets are reporting the wage of leaders within Deere have soared as well, one saying CEO of John Deere, John May’s salary increased 160% in the last year.

Kylene Scott can be reached at 620-227-1804 or [email protected].