John Deere workers likely to strike as negotiation deadline looms

Business

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — More than 10,000 union workers from 14 different John Deere plants could walk off the job at midnight Thursday. 90% of United Auto Workers (UAW) union members overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer from Deere & Company over the weekend.

The company, one of several facing worker strikes, has until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13 to negotiate an agreement. If a new agreement isn’t reached by then, union leaders can either extend the deadline or authorize a strike. 

Officials at the Moline, Illinois-based company said operations will continue as normal despite the looming strike.

Workers rejected a six-year contract which includes pay raises and lower-cost health care plans. The proposed contract would have delivered immediate 5% raises for some workers and 6% raises for others depending on their positions within Deere’s factories. The agreement also called for 3% raises in 2023 and 2025.

“Members are very frustrated with this deal. They don’t feel that their concerns have been addressed and they don’t feel that the contract keeps up with the economic conditions of the company or, you know what’s going on with inflation,” Jonah Furman, staff writer at Labor Notes said.

John Deere pushed back in a statement saying the current contract has “the best wages and the most comprehensive benefit in our industries.”

If a strike does happen, it would be the first since 1986. That strike lasted six months and halted production at 10 plants.

Deere & Company is projected to report nearly $6 billion in profits by the end of this fiscal year. It shatters the organization’s previous record, set in 2013, by 61%. During the pandemic, CEO John May’s salary was $15.6 million. 

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