Deere Deal Down; Picket Signs Up

Oct 19, 2021

Add Deere & Co. workers to the growing labor movement happening in the U.S.—one that’s getting more and more extensive by the day.

90% of the company’s union workers rejected the proposed six-year labor contract: and now it’s time for picket signs

What’s the impact? About 10,000 production and maintenance workers across 14 U.S. facilities. And in case you’ve been living under a rock: tractor and combine parts are already a little MIA.

The labor union—United Auto Workers—and Deere were surprised the proposed contract was rejected after union members voted in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas. Deere said it’s committed to reaching a new agreement in a separate statement, but the ETA is still unknown. In an earlier statement, Deere had said its operations would continue as normal.

What was vetoed? Wage hikes between 5 and 6% (then 3% raises in 2023 and 2025)—too little, workers believe, considering Deere’s record profits, plus the actual cost of inflation, overall labor shortages, and the fact that workers have continued showing up for work in the midst of a global pandemic.

Zoom out: The Deere workers join hospital, production, steel, and telecommunications workers, among others, in October labor strikes. The tight labor market means workers have more leverage in their demands.

The more you know: The last worker strike against Deere was 1986 and lasted 163 days. So don’t be surprised if this story continues into 2022…