After voting down a new contract earlier this week, more than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers represented by the UAW went on strike today, marking the first major walkout at the construction and agricultural machinery maker in 35 years.
The union had said its members would walk off the job if no deal was reached Wednesday. The vast majority of the union rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would have delivered 5-percent raises to some workers and 6-percent raises to others at the Illinois company, the Associated Press reported.
Brad Morris, VP of labor relations for Deere, said the company is “committed to a favorable outcome for our employees, our communities and everyone involved.” He said Deere wants an agreement that would improve the economic position of all employees.
“We will keep working day and night to understand our employees’ priorities and resolve this strike, while also keeping our operations running for the benefit of all those we serve,” Morris said.
Under the agreement that the workers rejected, a top scale Deere production worker would make just over $30 per hour, rising to $31.84 after five years, according to summary of the proposal cited by the AP.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said workers have a lot of leverage to bargain with right now because of the ongoing worker shortages. “Right now across the US, labor is in a very good strong position to bargain, so now is a good time to strike,” Goss said.
Source: Associated Press