Thousands of UAW workers at John Deere went on strike at 11:59 pm Wednesday, and locations around the Quad Cities are now filled with picket signs and hope for a new contract.

The Deal Points.

Contract talks broke down as around 90% of the members voted no to a new deal.  The deal included 5-6% raises for workers with traditional pension benefits increasing, however, they would have remained much lower for workers hired after 1997.  Workers were also disappointed to see benefit cuts for new hires.

The last strike at John Deere was 35 years ago and took 163 days to resolve.  That deal was made during "difficult times" for the company.  Now, John Deere is expecting to report record profits between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion this year.  In May of 2020, John Deere CEO John May received a 160% pay increase to $16 Million dollars.

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This morning, I took a drive.  From John Deere Seeding in Moline, to parts in Milan, to East Moline, and then up to Davenport and talked with the workers on day 1 of the strike.  The message from each location was clear.  They aren't looking to be millionaires.  They are asking for a fair new contract that gives them what they deserve from those record profits.  One employee told me they also want to be sure the deal is good for future generations of skilled labor that will someday work at John Deere.

Local support already showing.

The workers are already seeing support from the Quad Cities and around the country.  While I was at Davenport Works, a Murray Blue Truck came over with "UAW On Strike" signs attached to the bed.  Murray Blue Truck has joined the workers in support and will not be delivering to John Deere.  However, the other Murray truck still will as of the posting of this story.

I heard many honking cars and saw the thumbs up all around town.  The small tokens of donuts, drinks, and shirts that I was able to hand out to them weren't nearly enough.  But I was happy to get out and say hi to as many as I can find.

If you drive past any of these locations, you may be thinking "there are not many people here.".  You have to remember, there are locations all across town.  Plus, the workers aren't in just one location at each plant.  Moline, Milan and East Moline were spread out around the facility to reach as many people as possible.  Plus, they are going to be out there all day, so like a job, they have shifts to cover.

October 14, 2021 was day 1 of the strike.  As I talked with workers, there is hope an agreement will be reached quickly unlike the 163 days it took back in 1986/87.  They also know, it could be a difficult cold winter.  But the sense I got this morning was that they were united and ready for whatever it takes.  You can read the full statement from the UAW and check out the pictures of day 1 below.

John Deere Strike

 

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