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UAW goes on strike against John Deere

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

This is the largest private sector strike in the nation since the UAW delivered a costly one six-week strike against General Motors (GM) two years ago. And it continues a recent trend of workers flexing their muscles more as labor market dynamics lean more toward them and moving away from employers. Companies have been struggling to find the workers they need to cover a recent one record number of job offers. There have also been a record number of workers leaving work.
Last week 1,400 members of the International Union of Bakers, Confectioners, Tobacco Workers and Cereal Millers continued strikes against Kellogg, closing plants where cereal brands such as Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Froot Loops, Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes are made.
And on Wednesday, the International Alliance of Theater Stage Employees (representing technicians, artisans and craftsmen from the entertainment industry) announced that it had set a strike deadline for Monday in the early hours of the morning if they could. . not reaching a new contract with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers for 60,000 film and television workers. The union claimed that 98.6% of members had voted to authorize a strike if then there is no new agreement.

However, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the number of strikes this year has decreased compared to the same period in 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted labor markets.

Generally wages rise, as it seems that employers, both unionized and non-unionized, are more willing to give workers what they want to keep them in the workplace.

Good times at Deere

The strike at Deere & Co., the formal name of the company popularly known as John Deere, closes operations at 11 factories in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas and at three distribution centers in Georgia, Illinois and Colorado. The company manufactures both agricultural and construction equipment. Demand for their products has been strong.

The company said in August that it saw orders grow for the rest of this fiscal year which will last until November 1 and until the first fiscal quarter of next year.

The contract refused for UAW members to John Deere would have given them immediate base salary increases of 5% to 6%, and additional salary increases later in the contract that could have increased the average salary by about 20%. during the six years of the rejected agreement. It also eliminated a second lower salary level for some of the company’s more recent hires, which allowed them to pay the salary of other UAW members.

The average Deere production worker earned about $ 60,000 last year and could end that contract by earning about $ 72,000.

Among the features of the rejected contract was the return of the cost of living adjustment, once a common feature of union contracts that has become infrequent in recent years. But it could have been lucrative at one point inflation is running at levels it has not been seen for decades. It also included improvements in benefits, including an enhanced retirement bonus of up to $ 50,000.

But unlike the last two UAW contracts at Deere, which were negotiated in difficult times for the company, these negotiations took place at a particularly good time for the company.

This could have made it more difficult to reach an agreement that would accept membership. The current financial success at Deere may have led some union members to believe they deserve an even better package than what was turned down, especially after less lucrative offers in the past.

Revenue for the first three quarters of Deere’s fiscal year rose to $ 32.7 billion, up 11% from the same period in 2019 before the pandemic. Net income rose to a record $ 4.7 billion, 84% more than the same base. The company was able to do this while dealing with many of the supply chain problems haunting the automotive industry, and was able to raise its full-year profit prospects to $ 5.9 billion.

The company has also been hiring for the past year, as jobs represented by unions at Deere have increased by 19% since November 1, 2020.

Actions of Deere (DE) they have risen 23% from the current date, although Wednesday’s close fell 16% from the stock position in early September.

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