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Over 10,000 John Deere workers strike over ‘years’ of poor treatment

Scorpio

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Over 10,000 John Deere workers strike over ‘years’ of poor treatment​


Michael Sainato
Thu, October 14, 2021, 7:35 AM


<span>Photograph: Nati Harnik/AP</span>

Photograph: Nati Harnik/AP
More than 10,000 production and warehouse workers at 14 John Deere plants in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia walked off the job at midnight, in the latest in a wave of industrial unrest in the US.
The workers, represented by nine locals with the United Auto Workers (UAW), voted 99% in favor of a strike authorization in September after receiving the initial six-year contract proposal from John Deere.
Related: Film industry workers agree to strike if deal can’t be made over ‘basic needs’
It is the biggest private sector strike in the US for two years, since the UAW led an action against General Motors. It also comes amid threats of other strikes in the US and widespread labor problems in an economy still recovering form the battering inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.

On 10 October, workers voted overwhelmingly by 90% to reject the tentative contract agreement offered by John Deere, with a strike deadline set for 11.59pm CT on Wednesday.
David Schmelzer, a quality control inspector at John Deere in Milan, Illinois for 24 years and former chairman of UAW Local 79, said that in 1997 workers took several concessions from John Deere in contract negotiations at the time, which included creating a two-tier system of employees, with workers hired after 1997 receiving fewer benefits.
“We sacrificed, and we want that back now,” said Schmelzer. “Workers in this country need to understand that we have a considerable amount of power in this country, if we choose to utilize it, and there’s no reason why we should stand back and let these companies just completely exploit our labor for billions of dollars and fight tooth and nail not to give us anything.”
He said John Deere spent months sending out texts, mailers, and using supervisors to push workers in support of current benefits for employees leading up to the new union contract negotiations, and the company has currently prepared salaried employees to come in to replace workers on strike.
During the pandemic, Schmelzer said workers have been forced to work overtime consistently, with 10- to 12-hour days through the week and Saturdays.
Through that time, John Deere has reported record profits in 2021, with a $4.7bn profit in the first three quarters of this year, compared to their previous record profit year of $3.5bn in 2013. The company spent over $1.7bn on stock buybacks in the first nine months and paid out $761m in dividends to shareholders.
This goes beyond numbers. It’s just as much about how people are treated
“A lot of what’s been going on in the country over the last couple of years has definitely made people more aware of the disparity between corporate and income inequality. Just massive amounts of corporate greed,” added Schmelzer. “The majority of people want a bigger share of the success of this company, the success that we’ve been a major part of.”
Prior to the pandemic, John Deere laid off dozens of workers across several plants and reorganized their workforce, demoting several salaried workers to lower-level positions with less pay, citing Trump’s tariff wars with China and its impact on demand.
“This goes beyond numbers. It’s just as much about how people are treated,” said a John Deere employee in Illinois who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. “Respect from management no longer exists. You can feel the tension in the air. Everybody has been on edge for quite some time. Nearly every day, I would lift my weld hood up to hear employees and managers screaming at each other. They have put highly paid managers on certain operators to watch them and just bird dog them all day.”
During the last union contract negotiations in 2015, John Deere workers approved the contract by fewer than 200 votes after rounds of layoffs where hundreds of jobs were cut. The last time John Deere workers went on strike was in 1986, which lasted 163 days and included a lockout by the company at other plants in retaliation. The current strike is the largest in the private sector since thousands of General Motors workers walked off the job in September 2019.
“It goes way deeper than just not liking a contract,” said another John Deere employee in Illinois. “It’s the summation of years of negative wage movement and probably would’ve happened last contract had the layoff situation not happened.”
The worker cited proposed cuts to post-retirement healthcare, inadequate wage increases and inadequate pension benefits that don’t nearly match what pre-1997 John Deere employees receive as reasons why workers overwhelmingly voted against the latest proposed contract. For new hires, the retirement pension plans would be replaced by a 401k.
A spokesperson for John Deere said in a statement on the contract rejection by workers: “John Deere remains fully committed to continuing the collective bargaining process in an effort to better understand our employees’ viewpoints. In the meantime, our operations will continue as normal.”

 

Scorpio

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The worker cited proposed cuts to post-retirement healthcare, inadequate wage increases and inadequate pension benefits that don’t nearly match what pre-1997 John Deere employees receive as reasons why workers overwhelmingly voted against the latest proposed contract. For new hires, the retirement pension plans would be replaced by a 401k.

what these dimwitted union slaves don't get is defined pensions are on the way out, one way or the other.

JD will take their manufacturing to anywhere they aren't,
which is part of what this whole outsourcing thing is about,

.corp doing what .corps do, each head has a cost associated with it,
when the costs get too high, they look for ways to reduce that,
and if it means moving to Mehico, so be it

JD is already way overpriced in the market,
you pay dearly as a premium to buy 'green'

they don't have the pricing power for large increases in slave costs
 

Scorpio

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was looking at a green tractor,

saw the pricing scheme, and then went looking on the net for comparison,
came up with kubota (which I would never buy anyway) but it had the same size tractor with attachments for 7 grand less, 5 grand less if you wanted a trailer to haul the tractor and attachments.

and that was with a $4000 off sale on the green stuff for that model
 

Goldhedge

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what these dimwitted union slaves don't get is defined pensions are on the way out, one way or the other.
and 401Ks will be targeted by the IRS down the road. Just watch...
 

TAEZZAR

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Scorpio

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kubota is cheap tin from ferners,

and for the same reason I don't buy toyotas or bmw's

no gracias'
 
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tigerwillow1

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kubota is cheap tin from ferners,
(Karma will probably make me regret mouthing off about this).

My 15 year old fairly abused Kubota tractor continues to amaze me by being totally reliable and not breaking anything, except for blowing the seals in one of the hydraulic cylinders while exceeding its lifting capability. I know parts prices are outrageous and fear the day when something big flies apart, but so far, so good. Its build quality is extremely solid.
 

Scorpio

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don't really care about all that,
not going to stab my neighbor in the back to save a buck
 

Voodoo

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We have a lot of workers at one of their plants here. Trust me overworked is not what I would call them. Although, for some really stupid and weird reason the plant shuts down for 2-3 weeks every year and ALL the employees go file Unemployment. What a scam.

The other big problem is that all the management / engineers go on two-year rotations. So none of them want to stay here and it's really hard on a smaller community. Though, not having them at all is much worse.
 

chieftain

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Is the modern JD product as reliable as it used to be?
 

Voodoo

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edsl48

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I posted over at Yahoo that with Biden's border policies the immigrants will become replacement workers and how ironic it is that the union's back the Democrats that provide workers that will eliminate union jobs.
Long story short...it looks like I won't be able to post on Yahoo anymore.
 

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We have a lot of workers at one of their plants here. Trust me overworked is not what I would call them. Although, for some really stupid and weird reason the plant shuts down for 2-3 weeks every year and ALL the employees go file Unemployment. What a scam.

The other big problem is that all the management / engineers go on two-year rotations. So none of them want to stay here and it's really hard on a smaller community. Though, not having them at all is much worse.
Its called plant shutdown. The automotive assembly plant I used to work at, had one for 2 to 3 weeks every summer.

Plant shutdown is for several reasons. One is a forced vacation. All employees use 2 to 3 weeks of vacation all at once. Instead of having employees take vacation during the production year, you make employees burn it at the same time. Second is maintenance and repairs of the facility. Hard to perform maintenance and repairs during production. Plant shutdown is scheduled maintenance. Whether cleaning out the ventilation stacks in the paint booths, resealing the floors to installing new overhead winches and lifts, this is the time to bring in contractors to do it.
 

Voodoo

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Its called plant shutdown. The automotive assembly plant I used to work at, had one for 2 to 3 weeks every summer.

Plant shutdown is for several reasons. One is a forced vacation. All employees use 2 to 3 weeks of vacation all at once. Instead of having employees take vacation during the production year, you make employees burn it at the same time. Second is maintenance and repairs of the facility. Hard to perform maintenance and repairs during production. Plant shutdown is scheduled maintenance. Whether cleaning out the ventilation stacks in the paint booths, resealing the floors to installing new overhead winches and lifts, this is the time to bring in contractors to do it.

I get the maintenance stuff. Bit it chaps my hide they all go get double pay and sign up for unemployment. They are all still employees.
 

Buck

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To quote many a farmer... its absolute shit. You can no longer fix your own machines, parts aren't available, and mechanics are 3 to 4 weeks out to even diagnose.
...and today with perfect hindsight, i have to question: Who Chose to take the company in this direction? Was it presented at a board meeting? who agreed?...etc

those unnamed fools are to blame, and to think, i'd put money they were government coerced to go this way, communist controlled, etc...this company was taken this direction, right in front of the people who are trusted to keep it going properly

this didn't happen overnight...

we're going to need a bigger gallow...but these people will never pay the price, like rats, they wrecked this company, and the foundation of America is rocked from another angle, and they just resign with a 'pension' and move on to the next 'victim'...

everyone saw this coming, yet, here we are...

however, blame wont resolve it, but if they remain in power, if they remain walking free, they're just going to do it again, somewhere else, across another decade of time, burying everything we currently have...


like it's a pattern of a snake eating it's own tail...till there's nothing left


...and my sarcastic side says: let's go watch pro sports...it's a good time waster
 

smooth

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Not argueing with any of the above. But I live in a farming community (not my thing) and all of the LARGE machines I see are all green. All of them.
 

tigerwillow1

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not going to stab my neighbor in the back to save a buck
I don't think you can save any bucks with Kubota stuff for an almost-identical product. Brand-wise it's a bit mixed up just like cars. I look only at the smaller tractors because that's what I've got. Kubota has a production facility in Gainesville, GA with over 1,000 employees making the smaller stuff, way less than Deere's production employee count. The smaller Deere tractors use Yanmar engines. Last I heard, none of the small tractor engines are made in USA. Looks to me like the bigger tractors from USA companies have a lot of USA content. For the smaller stuff it can be like the car industry when some of the USA branded vehicles have less USA content than the Asian and European brands. Thank goodness we don't have Government Motors in the tractor business.
 

coopersmith

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Older john deere 4 wd tractors, 200 plus hp, are good for dryland wheat and milo farming. Also good are versatiles, and cat challenger. I prefer the challengers and vertitiles. I can farm a half section a day easily, sometimes more if I have a good sativa on board and radio reception is good. (320 acres).

I understand these tractors arent what everyone is talking about, but thats an aside.

if I was to pick a yard tractor like you guys are talking about, id pick a jd 4020 w 3 point and a bucket. We have 3, they can pick up a round bale. That is my cutoff limit for calling it a real tractor, under that ability its a yard tractor/mower/log splitter/tiller.

the kubotas are nice. have run backhoe and lot of other stuffs on a 24 hp, its a good rig. I didnt tear it up, but I tried. there was things it wouldnt do but it didnt self destruct. been flurting with the idea of buying a low hr used one. They will run a genset off the pto niggas, tiny little yanmar motor!

A big plus for me is the 6' belly mower and big lights. can mow at night, in the dark, when im drunk.

:2 thumbs up:
 

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the 4020 is one of the best green ever put out IMO,

to me they were badass

but those days are long in the past

as for the new ones, comparing the small fry
the frame and steel on the green was much heavier than on the orange
the loader attachment frame seemed to be less resistant to wracking/etc on the green

JMO for sure

but, I am going to give up the thought of a small tractor as the loader capacities just aren't sufficient and the attachments I need are readily available on the skid steers. Problem is, quality skids are awfully expensive comparatively. Especially now with used equipment and attachments pricing that is bonkers.

so for now, I wait.
 

Casey Jones

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I have no use for unions; but I have even less love for modern management. Woketards who think they can dictate the market, rip off the buyers, dictate how the product may be repaired, and convenience or economic cost to the user, be damned.

They want to pay the workers peanuts, too...while fattening themselves. Again, I have no problem with management THAT MANAGES, paying themselves well; but that is so seldom the case today.

Throw in the Woketard White-Hatred and Jab orders...and the only answer that can come of it is FOAD.

Time to just admit it: Due to the breakdown in universities and the intellectual collapse of the Elite Class...American manufacture and American products, are pure excrement.

I've never owned a John Deere product; they used to be the gold standard. But I'm smarting about buying a Ford F150 truck, a 2017, that turned out to be aluminum-foil SHIT. Had a toolbox slide eight inches forward in the bed, in a sudden stop...and BUST OUT THE FRONT WALL OF THE BED.

And because it's aluminum (seems like a great idea until you see it, and understand how weak it is) it would have cost me $1900 to repair. A steel bed could have been fixed with a brace and a drill and four bolts. A steel bed wouldn't have FAILED with the impact of a 40-pound toolbox.

That, and the legandary failure of modern Ford automatic transmissions (and you can't get a manual in a truck, now)...I'm sending this one to the auction. Got a replacement picked out...same year, Toyota. $7k more, same mileage, but from having Toyota trucks in the past, I know it's worth it.

Deere is gonna have to really reach to try and reach Kubota standards, product and labor relations and customer satisfaction. Maybe they can come close, which will be a real accomplishment for American Woketard Elite managers.
 

coopersmith

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There is nothing wrong w the 4020 even now. You need a half dozen scrappers in the back row, seal kits, always be rebuilding a motor in perpetuity, its a solid system. We used to row crop and furrow water with pipe, 2500 acres of milo and wheat with them (and everything else). I remember the day jd came out with the sunshade you bolted to the fenders for shade, it was great!

If I was to have only one tractor in my life, it would be a (and a back row full of) jd 4020.

that is my honest opinion, take it for what its worth.
 

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the 4020 is one of the best green ever put out IMO,

to me they were badass

but those days are long in the past
My father in law has 2 of the 4020s. He said it was a solid tractor with few issues. The problems it did have were easy enough for anyone to fix.
 

specsaregood

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But I'm smarting about buying a Ford F150 truck, a 2017, that turned out to be aluminum-foil SHIT. Had a toolbox slide eight inches forward in the bed, in a sudden stop...and BUST OUT THE FRONT WALL OF THE BED.

And because it's aluminum (seems like a great idea until you see it, and understand how weak it is) it would have cost me $1900 to repair. A steel bed could have been fixed with a brace and a drill and four bolts. A steel bed wouldn't have FAILED with the impact of a 40-pound toolbox.
I think the even newer trucks have carbon fiber instead of aluminum; so probably even more expensive to repair.

That, and the legandary failure of modern Ford automatic transmissions (and you can't get a manual in a truck, now)
I had no idea you couldnt get the manual in their trucks any longer -- just checked and you are correct. Which seems strange cuz their new Bronco has a 7spd manual as standard in the base package.
 

Brio

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Southwest can blame vaxx refusal on the weather
Media can blame medical staff walking out on burnout.
Pretty sure the co. can blame a strike for vaxx refusal
 

mtnman

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kubota is cheap tin from ferners,

and for the same reason I don't buy toyotas or bmw's

no gracias'
Kubota is third world tough! They out last any American made tractor by a LONG shot. Toyotas are also the most well made truck on the road, and the Toyota truck is the most American made truck on the road. A million miles on a Toyoda truck is not unheard of, just today I talked with a man that had 750K on his second gen Toyota Tundra, he showed me the odometer. Unions have turned American made products to crap, sad.
 

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Management and cow towing to shareholders in pursuit of big profits are to blame for turning American made products to shit. Not the Union worker.
 

Joe King

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Management and cow towing to shareholders in pursuit of big profits are to blame for turning American made products to shit. Not the Union worker.
Ok, call it union management instead.
 

mtnman

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Management and cow towing to shareholders in pursuit of big profits are to blame for turning American made products to shit. Not the Union worker.
For every paid auto worker there are 2.5 paid retired. This is not sustainable but its what Union workers vote for.
 

Joe King

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For every paid auto worker there are 2.5 paid retired. This is not sustainable but its what Union workers vote for.
They bought the company's offer of, "do more work now and we'll pay you later on after you're retired".

Shoulda just paid more then, and told 'em to invest it for their own retirement, instead.
 

tigerwillow1

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Kubota is third world tough!
I spouted my opinion earlier and will leave it at that. When I was tractor shopping 12 years ago I was clueless. I looked at Deere, Kubota, and Kioti, and in my cluelessness felt they were all pretty much equivalent and didn't vary a whole lot, cost-wise. I wasn't looking at any details like sheet metal thickness that a more informed person might do. I made the decision to go with Kubota totally on a feature that only it had, that I thought might be useful. What I'm most glad about now is that it's old enough to not have any pollution junk hanging on it, no computers, and no semiconductors. Parts prices are outrageous, which is why I'm not replacing a broken turn signal assembly.
 

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Is there any possibility that the John Deere strike is related to forced vaccination?
 

ttazzman

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a lot of tractor comments above....lol...i have a opinion on all of them.....we run a full range of tractors on the farm ..in John deere sizes we range from 4 series to 8 series ....some old like a 4440 ......to new.....6130m << jDs .......we as a family farm over 1k acres .....i have retired but as a family we have a lot of heavy construction equipment D7 size down of varriing ages

Discussing tractors .......the main thing i can say about JD and CAT .......if you maintain and do not abuse them #1 you can get parts....#2 there are good dealers around.....#3 they hold value similar to PMs (i have never lost a penny on a JD tractor)

In small tractors i think the Yanmar engine is second to none up to 60hp including JD and Kubota engines

Kubota makes a good machine no doubt about it ....but in my opinion and in our area of the country a JD will resell above its new price in 10 yrs ......kubota will lose's resale and desirability vs deere ....yep the Deere costs more up front

I hate tier4 engine crap ....dont own one ....tier4 engines may change the king of the hill game as some manufacturers are struggling with it and def

i follow tractors like some people follow gold LOL....im currently in the market for a JD 4720 large compact hystat for the female unit to run around in
 

Scorpio

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but in my opinion and in our area of the country a JD will resell above its new price in 10 yrs

that is a fact,
as I was looking, figured I would check the used market,

they were in fact higher than the new ones after discount

then I wondered if it was related to the new engineering vs old, but the year spread was not that great with the model and drive train the same
 

ttazzman

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that is a fact,
as I was looking, figured I would check the used market,

they were in fact higher than the new ones after discount

then I wondered if it was related to the new engineering vs old, but the year spread was not that great with the model and drive train the same

used market prices are up all around.....especially pre tier4 engine models IE pre 2013/14

a lot of manufacturers are making good machines in the sub 25hp range to avoid tier4 requirements

a real big issue right now across the board is lack of parts support even with the strike deere is benefiting from this due to a lot of stocking dealers and nationwide warehousing

what size or what capability of tractor are you looking at ?
 

Scorpio

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I quit looking at them as they didn't have the loader capacity I would need,

I was actually pretty shocked at how little capacity they have vs a skid steer,

A 3032 small fry
 

ttazzman

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I quit looking at them as they didn't have the loader capacity I would need,

I was actually pretty shocked at how little capacity they have vs a skid steer,

A 3032 small fry
those little hystat tractors are handier than a extra arm for small chores ......but you gotta look at the loader specs and lift heights closely and they require ballast to do full spec ........in JD you have to move to 4 series size to get 1ton of loader lift which is about what my skidsteer will do ........might look at JD 4500-4600-4700 model compact tractors ...thru 4510-4710 series for a low cost high performance early 2000s models (very solid tractors at very good price levels)
 
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