Steel Markets

UAW Strikes Deere, Thousands Head to Picket Lines

Written by Michael Cowden

United Auto Workers (UAW) members at John Deere have set up pickets after a midnight strike deadline lapsed.

The strike at the Moline, Ill.-based heavy equipment manufacturer impacts more than 10,000 workers at 14 facilities – most of them in the Midwest but some as far afield as Colorado and Georgia.

news“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department.

“We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved,” he added.

Deere is in the meantime using “employees and others” to keep daily operations running, a company spokeswoman said.

“Our immediate concern is meeting the needs of our customers, who work in time-sensitive and critical industries such as agriculture and construction,” she said.

Deere will continue to work with the UAW in the meantime.

“John Deere is committed to a favorable outcome for everyone involved and is committed to reach an agreement with the UAW that would put every employee in a better economic position,” the spokeswoman said.

The strike deadline had been set for Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 11:59 p.m. after approximately 90% of UAW members rejected the tentative pact.

A previous six-year contract between the UAW and Deere expired on Oct. 1 but had been extended pending ongoing negotiations.

Deere is famous for its iconic green tractors and combines. Equipment manufacturers such as Deere are also big consumers of steel – not only of flat products such as sheet but also of value-added long products such as special bar quality (SBQ) steel.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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