More than 10,000 UAW members at 14 plants walk out
The UAW and John Deere reached a tentative contract agreement, but more than 90% of the members rejected it, bringing about the largest strike in the private sector since almost 50,000 UAW members went on strike against GM in 2019. That lasted for six weeks.
The company is projected to have record profits approaching $6 billion in 2021, and workers are determined to see increased salaries and improved benefits.
“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.”
The Fortune 500 company appears willing to work with union members to hammer out an agreement.
“John Deere is committed to a favorable outcome for our employees, our communities and everyone involved,” VP of labor relations Brad Morris said. “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. We will keep working day and night to understand our employees’ priorities and resolve this strike.”
Workers across several economic sectors have gained leverage as the economy recovers and labor shortages persist, and they have been pressing their advantage. Record numbers of Americans have quit their jobs in recent months, often for employment elsewhere that pays them more and/or offers greater flexibility.
Just this month, 1,400 workers at Kellogg have gone on strike, and 60,000 members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees could walk out Monday if they don’t reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.