John Deere workers are on the verge of a strike after they voted overwhelmingly to reject a new six-year collective agreement recommended by their union, United Auto Workers (UAW).
On Sunday, 90 percent of UAW members eligible to vote shot down the new agreement that had been struck between the union and the tractor manufacturer, which included modest wage increases and improved pension benefits that would have come at the expense of new hires. According to Des Moines registrationThe strike-friendly atmosphere was high in Iowa, where union members posted signs reading, “PUT THIS PIECE OF RUBBISH” and “YOUR DESERVES BETTER”. According to a broadcast by Work notes, Several union members also showed up at local meetings wearing “F *** No” t-shirts, and at least one member took the microphone to say that the only thing the deal was good for was “wiping my ass.”
Unless an agreement is reached by the UAW’s new 11:59 p.m. strike deadline on Wednesday, October 13, more than 10,000 Deere workers will quit for nine locals in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas, which would be the largest private sector strike since the 40-day GM UAW workers’ strike in 2019.
Officials at John Deere have so far signaled their willingness to continue negotiations by telling the registry in a statement that the company “remains committed to continuing the collective bargaining process to better understand our employees’ points of view” and saying that operations are in in the meantime is “continued normally”. However, according to internal company e-mails checked by Labor Notes, the company also appears to be increasingly looking for employees to “create a broader network to fill critical factory positions in the event of a work stoppage”.
In addition to preparing for one of the biggest industrial disputes of recent times in a year that is already full Workers unrest, Labor shortages and strike efforts, John Deere has also recently become a critical battlefield for national Repair Laws. Often viewed as the centerpiece of the fight against manufacturing repair monopolies, due to its refusal to allow farm workers to repair their own equipment, the company was identified as such by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders during his doomed campaign for the 2019 presidency .
“In rural America today, farmers can’t even repair their own tractors or other equipment because of the greed of companies like John Deere,” said Sanders wrote then, vowed that if he became president, he would “pass a national law on repairs that gives every farmer in America full rights to the machines he buys.”
Under President Joe Biden’s administration, the right to repair has recently won several modest victories, including one rousing executive Ordinance that prompted the Federal Trade Commission to draft regulations that restrict companies like Deere from restricting independent repairs of their products.