By Kira Trapkus, LO’T News Reporter
You may have noticed strikers around intersections holding up signs that say UAW Strike, which has been going on for roughly 2 weeks. These people are putting in effort to get their point across by parading around town with messages on their cars in an attempt to spread the word to all who will listen.
The last strike that happened at Deere lasted over 5 months. According to a worker who is currently on strike, “The Union workers are frustrated because the CEO gave himself a large raise and the hourly workers didn’t get one.” According to CNN, a contract presented by the union was rejected by the company; this contract could have been beneficial to the workers by increasing their pay by 5-6% and increasing it by about 20% over the course of the contract.
This strike has affected all of the John Deere workers and especially those who are non-union workers and are now having trouble selling a product that can’t even be made. Some farmers and consumers have been bidding on older tractors so they can strip them down for parts to fix their tractors rather than relying on the company for new parts. CNN states that 11 John Deerefactories and distribution centers have been shut down in multiple states, and the demand for products is through the roof.
The union leaders and John Deere representatives meet on Monday to discuss a new contract. The Director of the Rutgers Labor Education Action Research Network states, “The longer this goes on, the more pressure there is on John Deere to settle.” 10,000 workers went on strike on the 14th of October; this large number of workers will have a huge impact on the company as a whole. The strikers are paid by the union while on strike, but the amount is little compared to what they would earn working. There is no one to manufacture parts for tractors, so no tractors are not being made, lowering the company’s revenue.
In the end, Deere’s UAW workers are holding out strong for the wages and benefits they hope to receive from a company that recorded strong earnings, $6 billion in profits this year according to The New York Times, throughout the covid outbreak, a period when John Deere workers were considered “essential” and worked in factories when many other companies and factories shut down.
Update: John Deere and the UAW reached a tentative agreement on Saturday, October 30. According to The Des Moines Register, the offer proposes that “UAW members will receive 10% wage increases, compared to what they made earlier this year. That’s up from a 5% or 6% increase that Deere offered in an earlier proposal, which nine out of 10 union members rejected Oct. 10.” Union members rejected this latest proposal Tuesday, November 2.