Will John Deere Workers Strike?
A strike deadline is fast-approaching after unionized workers at Deere and Company overwhelmingly rejected a new contract offer on Sunday.
In a press release, John Deere officials confirmed that production and maintenance employees represented by the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) turned down the new tentative collective bargaining agreements being offered by the company. The vote impacts more than 10,000 employees at 14 John Deere plants in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas.
According to ratification results posted online, 91-percent of the men and women who work at facilities in Waterloo, Ottumwa and the Quad Cities voted against the deal. Vote totals on the UAW Local 838's Facebook page show Waterloo workers rejected the offer with a vote of 2,518 no to 189 yes.
Workers at the Ottumwa facility voted 444 no to 67 yes, according UAW Local 74. Davenport-based UAW Local 281 said the vote margin in the Quad Cities was 767 no to 124 yes.
"After weeks of negotiations, John Deere reached tentative agreements with the UAW that would have made the best wages and most comprehensive benefits in our industries significantly better for our employees," Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company, said in the press release. "John Deere remains fully committed to continuing the collective bargaining process in an effort to better understand our employees' viewpoints. In the meantime, our operations will continue as normal."
According to Local 838 officials, the bargaining committee was recalled to the company's headquarters in Moline, Ill. Monday morning. UAW officials said the union has set a hard date of Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 11:59 PM for John Deere to improve the offer or workers will strike. Picket duty is set to begin Thursday morning.
After Sunday's vote, Local 838 officials were asking workers to report to their jobs as normal. They were also being told to be aware of their strike duty assignments.
If John Deere workers strike, it would be the first time since 1986. That strike, which took place doing the upheaval of the farm crisis, last more than five months.