MOLINE, Ill. – More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers went on strike Thursday at midnight after “the company failed to come up with a deal meeting the demands and needs of our members,” said union United Auto Workers in a press release.
The union had said its members would quit work if no deal was reached before 11:59 p.m. others.
“The nearly one million retired and active UAW members who stand in solidarity with striking UAW members at John Deere,” said UAW President Ray Curry.
Thirty-five years have passed since Deere’s last big strike, but workers have been emboldened to demand more this year after working long hours throughout the pandemic and because companies face worker shortages .
“Our members at John Deere are on strike so they can earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish a level playing field,” said Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s agricultural tools department. “We remain committed to negotiating until our members’ goals are met.
Chris Laursen, who works as a painter at Deere, told the Des Moines Register he believes a strike is imminent and could make a significant difference.
“The whole nation is going to watch us,” Laursen told the newspaper. “If we take a stand here for ourselves, our families, for basic human prosperity, it will make a difference for the entire manufacturing industry. Let’s do it. Let’s not be intimidated.
Earlier this year, another group of workers represented by the UAW went on strike at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia and ended up with better pay and cheaper health benefits after rejecting three offers provisional contracts.
The contracts under negotiation covered 14 Deere factories in the United States, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one in Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.
Contract talks for the Moline, Illinois-based company were unfolding as Deere expects to post record profits of between $ 5.7 billion and $ 5.9 billion this year. The company reported strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment this year.
Deere’s production plants are an important contributor to the economy, so local officials hope any strike will be short-lived.
“We really want to see our economy stabilize and grow after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati told the Quad-Cities Times. “I hope these parties can come to a resolution soon.”