MOLYN, IL (AP) – More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers went on strike Thursday at midnight after “the company did not submit an agreement that would meet the requirements and needs of our members,” the union said in a statement.
The union said that its members will leave work if no agreement is reached by 23:59. An overwhelming majority of unions rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would provide a 5% increase for some workers and a 6% increase in wages. other.
UAW President Ray Curry said, “There are nearly a million retirees and active UAW members who stand in solidarity with the striking UAW members at John Deere.”
Thirty-five years have passed since Deere’s last major strike, but workers have been encouraged to demand more this year after a long day of work during the pandemic and as companies face a labor shortage.
“Our John Deere employees are on strike to earn a living, retire with dignity and establish fair work practices,” said Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Equipment Department. “We continue to bargain until the goals of our members are achieved.”
Chris Laursen, who works as an artist at Deere, told the Des Moines Register that he believes a strike is imminent and could make a big difference.
“The whole nation will be watching us,” Laursen told the newspaper. “If we stand here to protect ourselves, our families, for the sake of the elementary prosperity of mankind, it will have a meaning for the entire manufacturing industry. Let’s do it. Let’s not be scared. “
Earlier this year, another group of workers represented by the UAW went on strike at the Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia. and received higher wages and lower medical services after the rejection of three preliminary contract offers.
The contracts discussed cover 14 Deere plants in the United States, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois, and one each in Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.
Contract negotiations at the Moline, Illinois-based company are ongoing as Deere expects to post record profits of $ 5.7 billion to $ 5.9 billion this year. The company reported strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment this year.
Deere manufacturing plants make an important contribution to the economy, so local authorities hope any strike will be short-lived.
“We definitely want our economy to stabilize and grow after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Molina Sangeeta Rajapati told Quad-Cities Times. “I hope these parties come to a resolution soon.”