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.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Progressives Counter Cherry-Picked Quotes With MLK's True Legacy

Calling out those who have "weaponized" his words "to justify legislated white supremacy," Rep. Ayanna Pressley said King "was a radical dreamer with a bold vision for revolutionary change."

Jessica Corbett ·


'No Celebration Without Legislation': King Family Leads Voting Rights March

"I will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father's dream," said Martin Luther King III.

Andrea Germanos ·


Lawmakers Seek to Weaken Ban on Surprise Medical Bills

According to new reporting, the effort to rein in price-gouging is facing pushback from Democratic and Republican members of Congress alike.

Kenny Stancil ·


Billionaires 'Had a Terrific Pandemic' While Inequality Killed Millions: Oxfam

A new report explains how inequality contributed to the death of 21,000 people each day of the pandemic while the wealthiest collectively got $1.2 billion richer every 24 hours.

Jon Queally ·


Biden Urged to Fire Covid Response Chief Over 'Damning' Failures

"Zients has failed to provide the materials necessary to improve the U.S. response, or the guidance necessary to keep the pandemic under control," argued one critic.

Jake Johnson ·

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