John Deere Strikes Out

Posted: October 20, 2021

Why are the employees at Deere & Co. skipping work? They’re going on strike. More than 10,000 of them are!

Deere & Co. makes the famous green farm machines you might recognize: John Deere Tractors. This year, the company sold a lot. It made more money than ever—as much as $5.9 billion. Deere workers want to see some of that extra cash in their paychecks. After all, they worked a lot of long hours throughout the pandemic. And companies are facing worker shortages. This makes their labor extra valuable.

A strike happens when employees refuse to work. They stop working because they’re unhappy with the way a company is treating them. Sometimes it’s over pay. Other times, it may be over safety. Without workers, companies can’t do anything. So if a strike drags on long enough, a company may give in. Workers may get what they want.

A handful of workers began forming a picket line last week outside the Deere & Co.’s plant in Milan, Illinois. Their workers’ union dropped off a metal barrel and firewood to keep them warm while they protested.

The strike affects many people—not just Deere employees. Farmers rely on tractor parts produced by striking workers. It’s harvest time. What if a tractor breaks down and no one has the parts to fix it? Deere employees want a good deal. Farmers want everyone to get back to work fast.

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread. — Proverbs 12:11

United Auto Workers picket outside of John Deere Des Moines Works on October 14, 2021, in Ankeny, Iowa. (Kelsey Kremer /The Des Moines Register via AP)