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10,000 John Deere workers go on strike after contract negotiations fall apart

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/14/2021 jepstein@insider.com (Jake Epstein)
In this Sept. 10, 2019, file photo a John Deere tractor is on display at the Husker Harvest Days farm show in Grand Island, Neb. AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File © Provided by Business Insider In this Sept. 10, 2019, file photo a John Deere tractor is on display at the Husker Harvest Days farm show in Grand Island, Neb. AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File
  • Over 10,000 John Deere workers at 14 different locations went on strike on Thursday.
  • United Auto Workers union members are unhappy after contract negotiations with the company failed.
  • The company said it doesn't know when employees would return to work.

Over 10,000 John Deere workers at 14 different locations went on strike on Thursday after contract negotiations with the company failed, the United Auto Workers union said.

Union members went on strike immediately at midnight in demand of better retirement benefits and work environments.

"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 President and director of the union's Agricultural Implement Department, in a statement.

"We stay committed to bargaining until our members' goals are achieved," he added.

Jen Hartmann, director of public relations at John Deere, said in an email to Insider that the company will try to reach an agreement with the union and make them "the highest-paid employees in the agriculture and construction industries."


Video: UAW goes on strike against John Deere (TODAY)

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The union's president Ray Curry said members have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic after the company deemed they were essential workers.

"Strikes are never easy on workers or their families but John Deere workers believe they deserve a better share of the pie, a safer workplace, and adequate benefits," said Mitchell Smith, a regional director at the union, in a statement.

Brian Rothenberg, director of public relations at United Auto Workers, said in an email to Insider that the situation is "fluid" and union members are setting up pickets.

John Deere said that the company is working to understand its employees' grievances and resolve the strike, as well as keep operations going as planned.

"Our immediate concern is meeting the needs of our customers, who work in time-sensitive and critical industries such as agriculture and construction," Hartmann said.

The company said it doesn't know when the employees would return to work, nor when contract negotiations might be worked out.

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