Strike at John Deere enters second week

Oct 22, 2021  | 2 min  | Ep4710

Many business owners are still waiting for workers on the sidelines to re-engage with employment opportunities after expanded unemployment benefits were cut-off. For those who working throughout the pandemic, increased profits and higher CEO salaries have pushed many employees off the assembly line onto the picket line. 

Case in point, Deere and Company and the UAW.

 

The United Auto Workers strike against John Deere entered its second week as workers demand pay increases and the end to a two-tier wage structure.
Deere is the largest farm equipment manufacturer in the United States, and has avoided a general strike since 1986. 
Ninety percent of union workers rejected a contract offer from Deere two weeks ago, and talks between the UAW and the company restarted this week. The offer had proposed a 12 percent raise over four years. Over 10,000 workers at 14 plants have walked off the job.
Charlie Wishman, Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO: “All they want is to get their share, of what they believe to be the fair share of the wealth that they have helped this company create throughout the pandemic.”
The strike comes on the tail of 15 consecutive profitable years for Deere, a period that saw highs for both revenue and profit. Deere has booked over 3 billion dollars of profit in each of the last three years.
Unionized Deere workers received a 17 percent raise over the six years of the 2015 contract, while Deere profits have risen 51 percent over the same span.
Many of those profits were fueled indirectly by federal dollars sent to rural America by the Trump White House to make up for crop prices depressed by a tariff war with China. Market fundamentals are now driving multiple year highs in most commodities, yet net farm revenue for 2021 is expected to be lower when compared to 2020.
Organized labor is leveraging a tight labor market into other strikes. Fourteen hundred Kellog’s cereal workers entered their second week walking picket lines in four states. That dispute centers on proposed changes to wages, vacation days and mandatory overtime. 
For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs

 

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