More than 10,000 unionized John Deere workers from 14 facilities are now on strike after declining a proposed contract negotiated by the company and the United Automobile Workers.
The strike began at midnight after UAW members rejected an offer from John Deere.
“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” Chuck Browning, the vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department, said in a release. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members' goals are achieved.”
According to a summary posted to UAW’s website, the proposed deal, which was rejected by 90% of UAW membership on Sunday evening, would have raised employee wages 5% or 6%, based on pay level. Additionally, employees would have gotten 3% general wage increases in 2023 and 2025.
Workers are setting up pickets at John Deere locations, according to the UAW release.
The strikes have the potential to add to supply chain issues currently impacting John Deere and a number of other equipment companies. Transportation delays and congestion, as well as shortages of key materials, have created random and sporadic disruptions that make it hard for dealers and consumers to acquire machinery without a wait.
On John Deere's website, the company said it has put a "Customer Service Continuation (CSC) Plan" in place. "Employees and others will be entering our factories daily to keep our operations running," it said.
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In a statement to Agri-Pulse, John Deere said it is “committed to a favorable outcome for everyone involved and is committed to reach an agreement with the UAW.”
“Our immediate concern is meeting the needs of our customers, who work in time-sensitive and critical industries such as agriculture and construction,” Deere’s statement read. “By supporting our customers, the CSC Plan also protects the livelihoods of others who rely on us, including employees, dealers, suppliers, and communities.”
The company said in a press release it doesn't have an estimate of when employees will resume activities or when negotiations with UAW will be complete.
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