Judge denies Deere’s petition to limit picketing activities outside of Polk County facilities

Members of the United Auto Workers strike outside of the John Deere Engine Works plant on...
Members of the United Auto Workers strike outside of the John Deere Engine Works plant on Ridgeway Avenue in Waterloo, Iowa, on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. About 10,000 UAW workers have gone on strike against John Deere since Thursday at plants in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas.(Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 11:03 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Today, a Polk County judge denied Deere’s temporary injunction to limit picketing by union workers outside of Polk County facilities.

Deere claimed that the Union “engaged in illegal conduct that included trespassing on Deere’s property and the use of mass picketing, coercion, and intimidation to disrupt Deere’s enjoyment of its property and lawful business operations.” as well as “irreparable damage caused by the Union’s picketing.”

The court found that Deere has the burden of proof, and “failed to show that it will suffer substantial injury or damages” and that “there have been little or no interruptions to Deere, other than those that are the natural result of a slowing or shutting down of business as a direct result of a labor strike.”

“The decision from the Polk County District Court reaffirms what the union has been saying all along: these are orderly picketing activities that are legally protected by the National Labor Relations Act and the First Amendment. It is unfortunate that Deere has tried to use state court intervention to disrupt and control the union’s right to engage in picketing, but we are encouraged that the court saw through that effort and ultimately protected the union’s rights,” said attorney Mark Hedberg, who serves as local counsel for the United Auto Workers.

The Union has already placed limitations on the number of people protesting at the picket sites (10 at the main gate, 5 at the others), and ensured that each site has a captain who is responsible for ensuring the picketing is done peacefully, in accordance with the Union’s rules, and in abidance with federal, state, and local laws.

“The ruling itself identified the great lengths the union has gone to in order to be able to engage in not only lawful but legally-protected picketing activities, and despite the contentions from the company, the court accurately pointed out that even the video evidence submitted by the company from hours and days of surveillance fails to actually show any illegal activity. The union should be commended on how orderly these pickets have been, and it was completely out-of-bounds for the company to seek this injunction to try to control how and where union members engage in activities protected by federal law,” added attorney Nate Boulton, who also represents the union.

John Deere said this in a statement:

“Deere & Company sought a temporary injunction to maintain a safe environment for our contractors and employees, including those exercising their right to strike. Deere will continue working to ensure safe entry and exit to our facilities.”

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