John Deere Strike Demands—Wages, Rules, and Retirement

Thousands of John Deere workers are on strike. What are their demands, and will the company meet the demands?

Rachel Curry - Author

Oct. 14 2021, Published 12:46 p.m. ET

It's the season of the strike. At least, that's the story for companies like Deere & Co. (NYSE:DE), which is currently out 10,000+ employees in a sweeping strike.

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Strikers are making big demands, and the agriculture machinery company hasn't met the demands yet.

John Deere strike led by United Auto Workers union

UAW (United Auto Workers) union members are striking against conditions at 14 John Deere production plants across the U.S. As a result, Deere & Co. is out 10,000+ workers until the company can reach an agreement with the union.

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First strike in 35 years shows shift in workers rights

Deere & Co. hasn't been subject to a labor strike in 35 years. In 1986, the strike lasted 163 days. This time around, workers rejected a contract from the company and went on strike to demand certain conditions.

The rejected contract stipulated raises between 5 percent and 6 percent for some workers. A staggering 90 percent of workers denied the contract. "The almost one million UAW retirees and active members stand in solidarity with the striking UAW members at John Deere," UAW President Ray Curry told reporters.

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What are union members demanding in the John Deere strike?

According to Chuck Browning, the vice president of the UAW Agricultural Implement Department, "Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity, and establish fair work rules."

Workers at 14 plants across Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, and Georgia are striking and many are taking part in a demonstration.

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According to UAW, the general demands involve fair wages higher than the proposed raises of 5 percent–6 percent, improved retirement benefits, and workplace limitations like removing forced overtime.

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John Deere is one of many ongoing strikes

In August, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs. Meanwhile, strikes are on the rise.

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The IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) is currently trying to reach an agreement with big studios and streaming platforms. IATSE represents 60,000 backstage workers who are willing to walk off set on Oct. 18 if no agreement comes to fruition by then. Hollywood hasn't shut down like that since Hollywood Black Friday in 1945.

IATSE and UAW workers aren't online. Many workers at U.S. Kellogg plants, Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., and Warrior Met Coal in Alabama are all currently on strike.

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As Deere & Co. is poised to record $5.7 billion–$5.9 billion in profits for 2021, workers want what's fair. UAW Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith said, "Strikes are never easy on workers or their families but John Deere workers believe they deserve a better share of the pie, a safer workplace, and adequate benefits."

A UAW-led strike at Volvo ended in July after workers ratified a deal from the automaker, including raising the starting wage for workers with one year of experience to $20.60 per hour with growth up to $30.92 per hour.


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