Over 10,000 John Deere employees at 14 plants across the country walked off the job at midnight on Oct. 14. They demand higher wages than the company was offering. How much do John Deere employees make?
According to the website Salary.com, the median salary for employees at Deere & Co., known as John Deere to most of us, is $70,743. This figure takes into account all of the company employees from top executives and corporate employees down to the skilled laborers.
The John Deere employees on strike are the company’s skilled labor and manufacturing workers represented by the UAW (United Auto Workers) union.
The website Glassdoor shows that skilled labor and manufacturing workers at John Deere make anywhere from $18 per hour to $30 per hour. For example, the average pay for an assembler is about $22 per hour, while welders make an average of $28 per hour. A full-time employee earning $22 per hour would make an annual salary of $45,760.
John Deere workers strike after rejecting a proposed contract.
John Deere officials offered UAW workers a contract that would have provided workers with 5 percent–6 percent raises effective immediately and also raises in 2023 and 2025. About 90 percent of eligible UAW members rejected the offer. Besides better pay, the striking workers are also looking for improved retirement benefits and fair work rules, said Chuck Browning, the vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department.
“UAW John Deere members have worked through the pandemic after the company deemed them essential, to produce the equipment that feeds America, builds America and powers the American economy,” UAW President Ray Curry said in a statement. “These essential UAW workers are showing us all that through the power of a strong united union voice on the picket line, they can make a difference for working families here and throughout the country.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic crippled many companies, the agriculture equipment company faired pretty well. In 2021, Deere & Co. is expected to take home up to $5.9 billion in profit.
John Deere officials hope for a favorable outcome for employees.
The company is “committed to a favorable outcome for our employees, our communities, and everyone involved,” said Brad Morris, the vice president of labor relations for Deere & Co.
"We are determined to reach an agreement with the UAW that would put every employee in a better economic position and continue to make them the highest-paid employees in the agriculture and construction industries,” Morris said in a statement.
The John Deere strike comes at a time when other workers are striking for better wages. There are currently strikes at Kellogg’s, Nabisco, Warrior Met Coal in Alabama, and Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y.
John Deere CEO’s salary is over $1.2 million.
Growing wage gaps between workers and corporate leaders are often scrutinized when workers strike for better pay. Deere & Co. chairman and CEO John May earns 220 times the median salary of most employees at the company, Salary.com data shows.
According to Salary.com, in 2020, May made over $14.7 million in total compensation. His salary was almost $1.2 million, plus he received over $3.7 million in bonuses, $2.6 million in stock options, $6.8 million in stock and $310,125 from other types of compensation.