Georgia John Deere Workers Strike

Georgia John Deere Workers Strike

Maura Bennett
Maura Bennett

Workers at a John Deere distribution center in Georiga are among the 10,000 members of the United Auto Workers Union on the picket lines nationwide.

Workers at the McDonough, Georgia Deere plant tell WXIA News that employee compensation has not kept up with the times.

Plant workers: “When I came to work here in ‘73, a good friend retired. And these people get less retirement than he did almost 48 years ago. We feel like we deserved what we need to take care of our families. Come out here and picket with my brothers and sisters, being part of something much bigger to get exactly what we’ve earned, I think is well worth it.”

In the middle of the harvest season, the strike has farmers worried about finding necessary replacement parts and a possible rush on the current available inventory.

There is optimism for an agreement as negotiations continue in hopes of presenting a bigger impact on farming operations.

The contract under negotiation covers 14 company plants, including 7 in Iowa, 4 in Illinois, and 1 each in Kansas, Colorado, and Georgia.

Contract negotiations were underway as the Illinois-based company expected record profits of up to $ 5.9 billion this year. The majority of union workers rejected a contract that would have delivered 5% raises to some workers and 6% raises to others.

During the pandemic, workers say they worked 10 to 12-hour days for as much as 6 days a week. And they say while wages stagnate and conditions worsen, bosses have are seeing record profits. Nearly $2.5 billion has been paid out to stockholders and dividends while the CEO has seen his personal wealth increase by 160% since February 2020.

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