The UAW just ended a 35-day-long strike of John Deere after union members voted to approve the third agreement negotiated between both sides.
“I’m pleased our highly skilled employees are back to work building and supporting the industry-leading products which make our customers more profitable and sustainable,” John C. May, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Deere, said in a released statement. “John Deere’s success depends on the success of our people. Through our new collective bargaining agreements, we’re giving employees the opportunity to earn wages and benefits that are the best in our industries and are groundbreaking in many ways. We have faith that, in return, our employees will find new and better ways to improve our competitiveness and transform the way our customers do their work. Together, our future is bright.”
“UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace. We could not be more proud of these UAW members and their families,” UAW President Ray Curry stated.
The six-year agreement includes:
- An $8,500 signing bonus.
- A 20 percent increase in wages over the six years with 10 percent this year.
- Return of Cost of Living adjustments.
- Three 3 percent lump-sum payments.
- Enhanced options for retirement and enhanced CIPP performance benefits.
- Healthcare remains the same for the life of the agreement.
Numerous Democrat elected officials and candidates visited the picket lines in Ankeny and Waterloo and publicly expressed support for the union members on strike.
Republicans, such as Gov. Kim Reynolds, expressed a desire for the two sides to reach an agreement. When the news of an agreement was reached, several Republican elected officials voiced gratitude.
Democrats criticized Republicans for not standing with workers.
For instance, former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, who is running for U.S. Senate, tweeted, “That feeling when you see GOP leaders in Iowa pretend like they care about Iowa workers getting a fair deal after NEVER standing with one @UAW member on a picket line. It shouldn’t be partisan, but damn folks, it also shouldn’t be like pulling teeth to stand on the side of Iowans.”
That feeling when you see GOP leaders in Iowa pretend like they care about Iowa workers getting a fair deal after NEVER standing with one @UAW member on a picket line. It shouldn’t be partisan, but damn folks, it also shouldn’t be like pulling teeth to stand on the side of Iowans pic.twitter.com/Jb7Pip8iWU
— Abby Finkenauer (@Abby4Iowa) November 18, 2021
When State Rep. Michael Bousselot, R-Ankeny, tweeted, “Last month I joined @weareiowa5news & talked about knowing first hand the uncertainty families face during a strike. I’m pleased for working families on both sides of the line that have certainty for the holidays & a sustainable contract for the future.”
The Iowa Democratic Party responded, “That’s funny because we didn’t see you on the picket line. Did you, @UAW?”
— Iowa Democrats (@iowademocrats) November 18, 2021
Bousselot could have been speaking from personal experience with a family member who had been on strike, which stating one has first-hand knowledge would seem to indicate.
It’s easier to launch a partisan attack.
Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, routinely criticized Republicans, in particular, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for not showing up on the picket line.
Should elected officials take sides in a private business labor dispute?
We don’t think so. Those same Republicans being criticized also did not offer statements of support for John Deere either.
It’s also not inappropriate to express gratitude for both sides reaching an agreement bringing an end to the strike. You don’t have to visit the picket line to recognize that an agreement and end of the strike is good for John Deere employees, John Deere’s leadership, John Deere shareholders, and Iowa’s agricultural economy.
Complaining about Republicans “not showing solidarity” with strikers is partisan nonsense, and it is not emblematic of good governance. Government should stay out of private labor disputes, not putting a thumb on the scale for either side.