Deere on UAW strike: ‘Our objective is to get people back in our facilities and back to work’

The company continues to use salaried workers and other facilities to meet customer needs.
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 3:24 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2021 at 10:16 PM CST
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - As a strike against Deere & Company nears one month, the worldwide production president shares they’ve had to alter their workflow by putting salaried employees on the production line. Over 10,000 employees remain on the picket line. The company is urging its production and maintenance employees to take a closer look at what the company is offering.

Members of the United Auto Workers Union turned down two tentative contract agreements and have been on strike for over three weeks. During that time, the company said salaried workers have been keeping things going to meet the needs of its customers.

“Our salaried workforce is working to bring those lines up and has been both shipping product and completed goods out of factories, but also starting up those primary production areas that are required for that continuity of service,” said Cory Reed, President of Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division, Production and Precision Ag for Deere.

“Obviously, we’re 77,000 employees around the world and several thousand of those employees from here in the Midwest, and our other facilities, have stepped up and stepped in,” Reed said. “Our focus has been on keeping those customers up and running and we’ve had a lot of employees step in and do that.”

After the latest agreement was voted down, Deere said it was their final offer, but when asked about the language of the contract, Reed says they would be willing to take another look if it means getting the contract ratified.

As some farmers are still in harvest, Deere has to keep parts coming in and out of factories: “how do we keep them up and running? If something breaks? That’s our first objective. Our longer-term objective is to get our employees back and get them operating these facilities like they know how to operate them and maintain that continuity of service with our John Deere employees,” added Reed.

“Our first priority from here going forward is to make sure that all of our employees know the terms of our offer, and that they have the opportunity to evaluate what that means for them. And our objective is to get people back in our facilities and back to work,” Reed said.

If needed though, Reed says they may have to turn to factories in other parts of the country and world. He says during the pandemic when one facility was interrupted due to outbreaks, they had other suppliers fill in to keep supplies up.

Meanwhile, union members and supporters held an informational picket Monday outside Deere & Company’s World Headquarters in Moline. Those who turned out say they are still unhappy with the latest contract proposal.

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