A recent report from the Quad City Times stated Deere employees represented by United Auto Workers Local 865 had passed a strike authorization on Sept. 12 as part of ongoing contract negotiations with Deere. The vote does not call a strike but instead gives the union the ability to call a strike on the workers' behalf should they feel it necessary.
Deere stated in an Aug. 17 press release that negotiations had begun for a new labor agreement that covered 10,100 production and maintenance employees at 12 Deere facilities. The current 6-year agreement is set to expire on Oct. 1.
Deere's press release stated, "In Iowa, the facilities are Davenport Works, Des Moines Works, Dubuque Works, Ottumwa Works and Waterloo Works, including Tractor and Cab Assembly, Engine Works and the Foundry. In Illinois, the facilities are Harvester Works in East Moline, North American Parts Distribution Center in Milan and the Seeding Group and Cylinder Division in Moline. In Kansas, there is one facility, Coffeyville Works.
"A separate agreement also is being negotiated to cover nearly 100 production and maintenance employees at Deere parts facilities in Denver and Atlanta."
Senior Communications Advisor at UAW Brian Rothenberg confirmed with Farm Equipment that strike authorization is commonly approved during contract negotiations.
A separate Sept. 14 report from KWQC stated John Deere UAW workers were picketing outside Deere's headquarters in Moline, Ill., with picket signs indicating employees wanted improved pensions and full healthcare in retirement. Deere reportedly gave the following response to picketers:
"John Deere respects its employees’ desire to voice their opinions. One of the things that has made John Deere’s relationship with our employees and the UAW strong for nearly 80 years is our shared interest in better understanding one another’s views. This mutual respect has allowed us to reach collective bargaining agreements that provide our employees with the opportunity to earn the best wages and most comprehensive benefits in our industries, while also maintain our competitiveness in an increasingly challenging environment. We remain committed to this approach in our ongoing negotiations with the UAW."