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Deere & Co. granted temporary injunction against striking Davenport union workers

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 4:15 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - An Iowa judge on Wednesday granted a temporary injunction against striking UAW union members that prohibits them from trespassing at the John Deere Davenport Works facility.

The temporary injunction also prohibits union members from picketing in groups larger than four at each gate at the facility, among other restrictions.

The company on Wednesday filed an 11-page petition, along with several exhibits, against the United Automobile, Aersospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Local Union 281 in Scott County District Court.

On Oct. 10, the union rejected a proposed six-year collective bargaining agreement and has been in negotiations but has not agreed to a new contract as of Wednesday.

The union began to strike Thursday and have continued to picket facilities, including Davenport Works, for several days.

“Petitioner does not contest the right of respondents to engage in a strike or lawful picketing but seeks an injunction to prevent trespass, interference with its lawful use of property, interference with the lawful conduct of others and threats and intimidation which have accompanied the picketing activity,” Mikkie Schilz, an attorney with Lane & Waterman, wrote in the petition.

The company alleged that over the last several days, striking workers have organized and carried out “confrontational, unlawful and trespassory protests,” which includes disrupting the company’s business operations, blocking and impeding the flow of traffic to and from Davenport Works, verbal and physical harassment, intimidation, mass picketing and other indirect forms of violence and “unlawfulness.”

According to the petition, the union had blocked ingress and egress to parking lots and entrances at facilities and prevented or tried to prevent non-striking employees, customers, and suppliers from entering or exiting the Davenport facility.

The company also said in the petition that a labor relations manager said on Monday morning, approximately 100 people were picketing the employee entrance “which was an increase of approximately 65 individuals and vehicle access was being blocked.”

The company also said union workers screamed through megaphones and other audible enhancing devices; yelled epithets and other offensive words and individuals; paraded in the public road leading to Davenport Works with banners and signs; and have blocked the free flow of traffic on the public roadways into and out of Davenport Works, according to the petition.

The company also said in the petition that striking workers have “repeatedly and expressly communicated to respondents that the acts described are unwarranted, impermissible and unlawful and have requested and continue to request that respondents cease and desist from such acts.”

On Wednesday, Chief District Judge Marlita Greve entered an order for a temporary injunction against the union.

According to the order, union members cannot:

  • Trespass on Davenport Works property or the driveways leading to the facility from public roads.
  • Obstruct the ways of ingress and egress to and from Deere & Co. premises.
  • Picketing or loitering or congregating near the contractor gate entrance.
  • Engaging in unlawful activities including unlawful mass picketing and or parading, verbal and physical harassment, intimidation, vandalism blocking or impeding human and vehicular traffic to and from Davenport Works.
  • Threatening or harassing any non-striking employees, drivers, vendors or customers who are lawfully conducting business with Deere & Co.
  • Picketing, loitering or congregating at or near any entrance to or exit from Deere & Co.’s property in numbers larger than four.

In a press release, UAW says, “the bargaining committee continues to address the concerns of its membership with the company. We would like to thank our communities and members for their continued support.”

Any member from the union found violating the order could receive a fine of up to $500 or result in jail time of up to six months.

The judge also ordered the union to provide sworn affidavits describing the steps it has taken to comply with the terms of the order within three days.

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