Deere union remains on strike, holding out for a better deal

Caroline Champlin Nov 5, 2021
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In this aerial view, construction and farming vehicles manufactured by John Deere sit in a yard at the John Deere Dubuque Works facility on Oct. 15, 2021 in Dubuque, Iowa. More than 10,000 John Deere employees nationwide, represented by the UAW, walked off the job in October after failing to agree to the terms of a new contract. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Deere union remains on strike, holding out for a better deal

Caroline Champlin Nov 5, 2021
Heard on:
In this aerial view, construction and farming vehicles manufactured by John Deere sit in a yard at the John Deere Dubuque Works facility on Oct. 15, 2021 in Dubuque, Iowa. More than 10,000 John Deere employees nationwide, represented by the UAW, walked off the job in October after failing to agree to the terms of a new contract. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
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United Auto Workers union employees at the farm equipment manufacturer Deere and Co. have rejected a second proposed contract from management this week, extending the union’s nearly three-week-long strike. This proposal offered employees 10% raises – double the amount in the previous offer – but the union still has hopes for better terms.

Deere is a local company for Iowa State University professor Peter Orazem. So, he’s been following the negotiations closely.

“I don’t think that the first contract being rejected was a surprise, they offered a 5% raise, and the next day, inflation was announced at 5.3%. So, you know, that’s not particularly inspiring as far as an offer goes,” he said.

Orazem said inflation makes it hard to come to agreement over a deal that will last five years.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the next contract is going to be of shorter duration, just to try to get a deal made,” he said.

That’s because the strike leads to losses on both sides, said Harry Katz, a professor of labor relations at the Cornell ILR School.

“Management clearly loses because the workers aren’t working. There’s lost production and lost income and profits from that lost production,” he said.

Katz said at least for the last year, Deere’s business has been quite strong.

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