Some 10,000 unionized workers at farm equipment maker Deere & Co went on strike early Thursday after negotiators for the United Automobile Workers union overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer worked out with the company.
“At John Deere our members strike for their ability to live a decent life, retire with honors, and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, director of the union’s Department of Agriculture. a statement. “We remain committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.”
NS strike deadline It was announced on Sunday after the union said its members had not voted. temporary settlement Arrived on October 1st with the company, which manufactures the John Deere brand of tractors. Union negotiators described the proposal as providing “significant economic benefits” and “the highest quality health care benefits in the industry”.
But the workers, which are spread across about a dozen facilities primarily in Iowa and Illinois, criticized the deal for insufficiently increasing pay, denying new workers a traditional pension and a substantial incentive program. For failing to improve what they consider to be overly clingy.
“We’ve never stacked the deck in our profits,” said Chris Lawerson, an employee at the John Deere plant in Otumwa, Iowa, who until recently was president of his local.
Mr. Lawson cited the profitability of Deere & Co. – which is on record-setting pace about $6 billion This fiscal year – as well as relatively high agricultural commodity prices and supply-chain constraints that result from the pandemic as a source of leverage for workers.
“The company is reaping such rewards, but we are fighting to pieces here,” he said.
The strike comes at a time when many employers across the country are grappling with labor shortage and workers. look more interested To take strike and other labor action.
Last week, cereal maker Kellogg’s had more than 1,000 employees, went on strike, and Oreos creator Mondelez International experienced a work stop this summer. Activists have launched a high profile union campaign heroine And starbucks.
Down temporary dealWages would have increased by 5 or 6 percent this year, depending on an employee’s pay grade, and then an additional 3 percent each in 2023 and 2025.
Traditional pension benefits would have increased but remained significantly lower for workers hired after 1997 than before, and many workers were disappointed to see them cut for new hires, Mr. Lawson said.
A series of scandals in recent years have resulted in a skepticism over negotiations between rank and file activists towards the international union. corruption within the union and illegal payments from executives in the company, then known as Fiat Chrysler, to union officials.
scams led more than 15 sentences, including two recent UAW presidents.