Originally published by The Courier


In an effort to maintain its enviable, 34-year run of labor peace, Deere & Co. and the United Auto Workers recently announced a deal to boost worker pay — by 20% over five and six years, Deere said — to keep the iconic green-and-yellow machines rolling off its 11 assembly lines and through its three distribution centers.

The manufacturing partners, after all, had a pretty good gig going. Revenue for Deere’s first three quarters this fiscal year was an estimated $32.7 billion, up 11% over the pre-pandemic 2019, and net income was a record $4.7 billion, up 84%.

Deere’s UAW workforce was thriving, too; since Nov. 1, 2020, the number of union jobs at Big Green had risen an astonishing 19%.

So imagine the shock of company and UAW negotiators when, like a lightning bolt, 90% of the rank-and-file union members summarily rejected the proposed contract. Both were shocked again four days later when the 10,000 Deere union workers walked off the job and into a picket line.

On Oct. 18, the same day the two sides reportedly headed back to the bargaining table, the Wall Street Journal saw the standoff — and other strikes that had recently emerged — as just a new round in the age-old labor-capital fight: “Union … workers demand more from their employers and companies struggle with labor shortages and snarled supply chains.”

Read the rest of the story here: https://wcfcourier.com/opinion/columnists/alan-guebert-running-with-the-big-deere/article_49070634-52bd-5b77-a571-8e39a16b8ffb.html