The workers are represented by the United Auto Workers union, who voted overwhelmingly to reject a contract proposal from Deere & Company that would have delivered an immediate wage increase of 5.0% to some workers and 6.0% to others. Additional increases in the rejected deal could have seen average pay increase by 20% in the next six years.
Deere is doing well and the record US$5.7b to US$5.9b profit the company expects to report at the end of this fiscal year in November is roughly 60% higher than the previous record in 2013. Workers are looking to benefit from the massive increase in company fortunes and are seeking increased wages, improved retirement plans and better benefits. We understand staff are currently picketing certain Deere plants until the two sides reach an agreement.
A communication on the Deere website states ‘John Deere remains committed to working toward a favourable outcome for our workers and our communities. We remain committed to hearing our employees’ priorities and continuing talks until the strike is resolved, while also keeping our operations running to support everyone who depends on us.’
The last time John Deere workers went on strike was 35 years ago in 1986. This lasted 163 days.