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Waterloo John Deere employees walk off job to join picket

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:50 AM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - Thursday night completed the first day of John Deere employees walking off the job to join the picket lines.

The strike started after the Local UAW voted down a contract that didn’t include retirement health care.

Strikers met at several sites at the Waterloo facility starting at 7 a.m. Thursday. They held signs reading “UAW on Strike.”

“I wasn’t surprised,” said Retired UAW Deere Bargaining Chairman Tim Neidert. “The union was going to test our resolve to see if this was what we were going to do.”

Neidert said the strike was about getting fair wages, health care, and retirement health care. He said the number of open jobs gave them leverage.

TV9 reached out to Local 838; that’s the union that represents John Deere employees, they said they couldn’t give a statement. UAW District 4 posted this statement on social media

“Pickets have been set up and our members are organized and ready to hold out and fight for a contract they believe meets their needs,” said Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4. “Our members and their families appreciate the community support they have already gotten. Strikes are not easy, but some things are worth fighting for.”

The Local 238 Teamsters in Cedar Rapids also shared their support for the UAW.

“Your fight is our fight,” said Principal Officer, Jesse Case. “For too long companies like Deere have dominated entire industries and have taken workers for granted.”

The strike will continue through Thursday night and into Friday morning, Neidert believes there was a lot of work that needs to be done before the union and John Deere come to terms.

“It’s early yet,” he said. “It seems like we’ve already gone through this for quite some time, but in actuality, it was still early.”

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