Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

John Deer tractors

While John Deere executives say they are "determined" to reach a deal, the latest offer was rejected by workers as inadequate. (Photo: Mussi Katz/flickr)

'Some Things Are Worth Fighting For': 10,000 Unionized John Deere Workers Now on Strike

"John Deere is shutting down... because they don't want to pay their workers a fair wage or pension."

Jon Queally

An estimated 10,000 unionized John Deere workers are officially on strike Thursday after a midnight deadline failed to yield an agreement to satisfy the organized workforce of the well-known tractor and farm machine company.

"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 prresident and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department, in a statement released just after midnight. "We stay committed to bargaining until our members' goals are achieved."

According to CNN:

The UAW had reached a tentative agreement on a new six-year contact with the company two weeks ago, only to see 90% of the rank-and-file members of the union reject it in a ratification vote that concluded this past Sunday. Union and management negotiators talked into the night Wednesday trying to reach a new deal but were unable to do so.

This is the nation's largest private-sector strike since the UAW waged a costly six-week strike against General Motors (GM) two years ago. And it continues a recent trend of workers flexing more muscle as the dynamics of the labor market tip more toward them and away from employers. Businesses have been struggling to find the workers they need to fill a recent record number of job openings. There has also been a record high number of workers quitting jobs.

UAW president Ray Curry said the union's almost one million retired and active members "stand in solidarity" with the striking John Deere workers and their families.

"UAW John Deere members have worked through the pandemic after the company deemed them essential, to produce the equipment that feeds America, builds America, and powers the American economy," said Curry. "These essential UAW workers are showing us all that through the power of a strong united union voice on the picket line they can make a difference for working families here and throughout the country."

The John Deere strike comes amid a broader surge in union activity, including active strikes already taking place and the approval of future work stoppages by other unions amid tense negotiations with employers.

While executives with the company said they are "determined" to reach a deal, the latest offer was rejected by workers, according to the New York Times, who "criticized the deal for insufficiently increasing wages, for denying a traditional pension to new employees and for failing to substantially improve an incentive program that they consider overly stingy."

With picket lines established at local John Deere locations nationwide, Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4, said Thursday that the public show of dissatisfaction shows the company's workers "are organized and ready to hold out and fight for a contract they believe meets their needs."

"Our members and their families appreciate the community support they have already gotten," said Curry. "Strikes are not easy, but some things are worth fighting for."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Stop Line 5': Valve Turner Forces Shutdown of Enbridge Oil Pipeline in Michigan

"We are here to protect the water, land, and air that support all life, including our own. Line 5 poses an immediate threat to our lives and these actions are taken out of necessity and in self-defense."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Delay Is the New Denial': Study Confirms 99.9% of Scientists Agree on Climate

"It's pretty much case closed for any meaningful public conversation about the reality of human-caused climate change."

Brett Wilkins ·


Exposed: How Pfizer Exploits Secretive Vaccine Contracts to Strong-Arm Governments

"Pfizer has used its monopoly on a lifesaving vaccine to extract concessions from desperate governments," said the report's author, urging action from the Biden administration.

Jessica Corbett ·


'A Toxic Presence in the Party': Ocasio-Cortez Joins Calls for Jay Jacobs to Resign

"India Walton is the Democratic nominee for mayor of Buffalo. No amount of racist misogyny from the old boys' club is going to change that."

Brett Wilkins ·


New Multimedia Report Details Unprecedented 'Permian Climate Bomb' in Texas

"If the Biden Administration wants to be serious about its promise to demonstrate U.S. climate leadership, it must first clean up its own backyard."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo