4.4 million Americans – 3 percent of the working population – resigned voluntarily in September. With that, the massive resignation known as the Big Quid that began this spring reached a temporary climax. U.S. Correspondent Rudy Rotter travels to Iowa to measure the temperature of tractor manufacturer John Deere’s striking workers.
Positions of strikers at tractor manufacturer John Deere’s plant in Waterloo, Iowa are low. The strike continues for the 33rd day. No one wanted to talk in the first post. John Deere’s union and management have decided not to issue any statement, and the strikers have been ordered to keep their mouths shut.
Positions of strikers at tractor manufacturer John Deere’s plant in Waterloo, Iowa are low. The strike continues for the 33rd day. No one wanted to talk in the first post. John Deere’s union and management have decided not to issue any statement, and the strikers have been ordered to keep their mouths shut. In the second post, the three people present are ready to talk and take a photo, until it happens without a name. They are heated by fire in an empty oil drum. “The cold is less than the last few days,” says the 40-year-old woman who chats the most. She was not in the first family to work for John Deere. His father retired in 2002. She earns more than she has now, she says: $ 21 per hour, compared to her $ 20. And the difference does not stop there. He received lifelong health insurance from the company, both for himself and his mother. She – let’s call her Ivy – was insured against the disease for the duration of her work, and only for herself. “If you consider the inflation and the benefits, I earn half of what my father had.” More or less for the same job. A male colleague complains about the double standard that has been in place at John Deere since 1997. Those who were previously employed have good social rights. Those who joined later had to receive very low benefits and low pay. ‘It was very difficult for me, especially in the beginning: you stand next to someone in the band, he does the same as you, but earns more.’ Ivy says that dual system is not even up for discussion in the current negotiations. He said: ‘The union stands for equality and justice, but what could be more unjust than equal pay for equal work?’ The third prize, much younger than the other two, works for $ 20 an hour. “I’m waiting,” he says. ‘It is a company with many pay rates and benefit structures. If a contract is approved, I will calculate what effect it will have on my case. Then I will decide whether to stay or switch to Target. ‘ Target, a slightly more stylish affiliate of Walmart, pays employees in Waterloo over $ 20 and offers more social benefits than they get on deer. Ivy: ‘It’s here. You dreamed of working for John Deere. It means security and prosperity for life. Today, Deere employees see their future in a store, somewhere else. John Deere, known for his green tractors, is a company that often does not strike. The most recent strike is from 1986. The major reform of 1997 was passed without a strike, and the six-year collective labor contracts, which each time workers had to hand over, were approved without action. Why is it stopped now? “We’ve been obligated to save on a number of collective agreements and reduced our rights,” says the elder. He made $ 14.8 million in 2020. The idea was: now it’s up to us. No one can say there is no money this time. ‘ Ivy: ‘Management came up with a lamentable proposal: a 5 per cent pay rise. In my case, that’s a dollar more than an hour .We considered it a slap in the face. Yes, but tractors are not being built remotely. Colleagues have been affected, some have died for Govt-19, and are they paying us a dollar an hour for that effort? ‘ Elder: ‘One of the top executives of the National Association said it was a good, honorable project. I could not believe my ears.’ Of the 10,100 John Deere workers involved, 90 percent voted against the proposal, and the strike began in three states and 11 factories, four of them in Waterloo. Percentage pay increase, initial bonus of $ 8,500 per employee (which is subject to 42 percent tax according to IV), two more pay increases within 6 years collective agreement, index adjustment, bonus. Thought it was an inescapable offer, but the poll came as a surprise: the proposal was rejected with 55 per cent of the vote. Very low. I’m not a mathematical genius, but if you divide 5.7 billion by 10,000 workers, you can raise wages by more than $ 2 an hour. ” Accepted. The strike ended immediately, the night shift in some factories still went to work. The three people at the Striker Post realized the end of the operation. But young colleagues, those with children or the elderly who are about to retire often have no reserves. Five weeks long. People are bored. That was one of the reasons for ending the strike. The sense of disappointment among some employees was completely different with the tumultuous statements of management and the union. Management was certainly relieved that the social conflict could be cleared up in the week leading up to the large shareholder meeting. John Deere’s new collective labor agreement is hailed by many as the ‘new standard’. Paul Iverson, a professor and labor expert at the University of Iowa, is more interested in the phone than you would expect from an educator. “There are three winners,” Iverson says. ‘Employees who expressed solidarity and pulled a lot out of the fire. The company that offered the fair offer will undoubtedly continue to make huge profits. John Deere factories, where solidarity with the strikers was remarkably high, and wage increases will be the norm in other negotiations. ‘ According to The Des Moines Register, despite being a progressive state, the people of Iowa have overwhelmingly supported the strike to the end. Dere employees continued to congratulate the strikers, even those who did not fully understand why they did not accept the second proposal. Michael Silders, a social dialogue expert at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, agrees: “This is one of the most lucrative deals made in the United States in the last 30 years. For decades, workers had to make significant concessions in every negotiation. Now the employees are not giving up anything, they are earning a lot. But I understand that they are not jumping in the air and still think they have to do. It bites if the CEO gets 160 percent and the employees get 10 percent. It should be the policy that no one earns more than eight hours of sleep than me in a week’s work. The CEO here earns more than that. Is the new collective labor agreement an announcement of a wider turn? The children are cautious: ‘I think there will be more strike action. The number of strikers rose from an average of 10,000 a month to 25,000 in October. But you should always consider action and reaction. I teach about the post-war period. Employees, as they now think, thought they had achieved a lot and deserved a reward. Parliament then intervened and suspended trade union rights. ‘ Iverson is more optimistic. He refers to another period in history: the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Recession that followed. The unions seemed to be disappearing. But many years later, after the new deal, the joint venture became popular again. ‘You can’t predict the future, but I have the impression that the epidemic has ushered in a new phase. We have certainly been a land of uniqueness in recent decades. Unity and common action were often laughed at. But because of the corona infection, we all know again that we are dependent on each other.
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