MOLINE, Ill – More than 10,000 Deere & Co. Workers went on strike on Thursday, the first major walkout at a major agricultural machinery company in more than three decades.
The union said its members would resign if no agreement was reached on Wednesday. A majority of unions earlier this week rejected a contract offer that would give some workers a 5% increase and others a 6% transfer to the Illinois company known for its green tractors.
“About one million retired and active members of the UAW stand in solidarity with the striking UAW members in John Derry,” said Ray Curry, President of the UAW.
Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations at Dairy, said the company was “committed to achieving favorable outcomes for our employees, our communities and everyone involved.” He said Der wanted an agreement that would improve the economic position of all employees.
“We will continue to work day and night to understand the priorities of our employees and to resolve this strike, while continuing to work for the benefit of all those we serve,” Morris said.
Thirty-five years have passed since the last major dairy strike, but workers were encouraged to demand more this year after working long hours throughout the epidemic and because companies are facing a shortage of workers.
Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAE’s Department of Agricultural Implementation, said: “Our members at John Dera are striking for the ability to live a good life, retire with dignity and establish the rules of fair work.” “We are committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are met.”
About a minute and 15 minutes after the strike’s end date, a handful of workers began building a packet line outside the company’s plant in Milan, a town in western Illinois, near the Iowa border.
The union dropped metal barrels and wood to keep workers warm in preparation for a demonstration, Quad City Times reported. Workers began picketing several other dairy plants – including Waterloo, on its major operation in Iowa – on Thursday morning when the first shift would return to normal.
Chris Larson, who works as a painter at the camp, told the Des Moines Register before the strike that it could make a significant difference.
“The whole nation is watching us,” Lorson told the newspaper. “If we take a stand here for ourselves, for our families, for basic human well-being, it’s going to make a difference in the whole manufacturing industry.” let’s do it. Let’s not be scared. “
Under the agreement, which was rejected by the workers, a senior deer production worker would earn only 30 30 an hour, which would increase to 31 31.84 five years later, according to the summary of the proposal.
Ernie Goss, an economist at Craigton University, said that because of the persistent labor shortage, workers now have the advantage of bargaining.
“Right now, across the United States, workers are in a very good position to bargain, so now is a good time to strike,” Goss said.
Earlier this year, another group of UAW representatives went on strike at a Volvo truck plant in Virginia, injuring three with better pay and lower cost health benefits after rejecting offers of pay contracts.
The agreements under negotiation include 14 deer plants, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one each in Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.
The alliance-based company Mullen is in talks for a deal as Deere expects record profits between 5. 5.7 billion and 5. 5.9 billion this year. The company is reporting strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment this year.
Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson said the profits provide Deer with a way to contract with workers.
“They can afford to settle this on more acceptable terms to the union and still maintain really strong profits,” Swanson said.
Dairy production plants are important partners in the economy, so local officials hope that any strike will be short-lived because it will have an immediate effect when striking workers cut their costs.
“We definitely want to see our economy stabilize and grow. Hopefully these parties can come to a decision soon,” Mullen Mayor Sangeeta Raipati told Quad City Times.
Swinson said the impact of the strike could spread further if companies supplying deer factories start laying off workers. Therefore, the camp will face pressure from suppliers and customers who need spare parts for their deer equipment to resolve the strike as soon as possible. And Swanson said if farmers decide to buy from other companies this fall, they will be worried about losing deer market share.
“There will be a lot of pressure on Deer to get closer to the union’s demands,” Swanson said.