The World Socialist Web Site received a message of support for the 10,000 striking Deere workers from a worker at the company’s Reman (remanufacturing) facility in Springfield, Missouri. The plant remanufactures engines, hydraulics, electronics and other parts and is not covered by the same contract as the other work locations on strike.
Earlier this year, Deere announced plans to close its only other remanufacturing plant, near Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, eliminating nearly 200 positions. The company has attacked jobs globally and carried out successive waves of layoffs in recent years, including both hourly and salaried workers.
The United Auto Workers has continued to keep striking workers in the US in the dark over its ongoing talks with the company in recent days. The UAW has issued no statements since the perfunctory three-sentence press release last Tuesday after workers rejected a second contract backed by the union. In that statement, the UAW said it would be “discussing next steps” with the company—not workers.
Deere reacted to the defeat of the deal by declaring this was its “last, best and final” offer and that it was moving to the next phase of its “continuity,” i.e., strikebreaking, plans. Since then, the company has gone on a media offensive to promote its supposed “groundbreaking” offer, which fails to meet workers’ demands to recoup more than 25 years of wage and benefit concessions the UAW has handed to Deere.
In addition to voicing his strong support for the striking Deere workers, the worker at the Reman facility also pointed to the similarity of the problems workers confront at his workplace, including long hours, burnout, understaffing, and stagnating pay.
For my brothers and sisters up north, I would like for them to know that I 125 percent support everything that they are doing! Someone is finally taking a stand against this (John Deere) corrupt corporation and the demonic union that works right alongside them!
I am a part of one of the only facilities that is a part of the John Deere network that isn’t represented by the UAW. The conditions in which we work are below subpar. Just like a previous article written by WSWS, this pandemic has shown the workers that we aren’t essential but expendable instead.
While I am ignorant of what goes on in other Deere facilities, I know that during the pandemic, many of us had to perform the duties of multiple people, working long hours, and receiving the same pay.
While I am on the subject of pay, management in Reman is always trying to get us to go above and beyond our normal work duties to help the company become more profitable. While from a financial standpoint that makes sense, in reality it’s completely absurd. I say this because whenever we get our end-of-year reviews, we do not receive any sort of “performance” raise for going beyond what is asked.
Our bonuses are fixed. Our wage increases are pre-determined for the wage side, while the salary side receives performance-based raises and receives extra paid time off for sickness. But we have to use what is called “personal compelling time,” which is held against while the [Human Resources] employees claim that it is not.
The vast majority of us are burnt out. We don’t have the option to STRIKE with our brothers and sisters across the country. We get worked like dogs week in and week out without any sort of compensation for giving up our family time, while they preach that family is important.
Our HR team has had countless meetings to discuss why a lot of employees are leaving. The answer is right in their faces, but they REFUSE to accept the truth.
We were told that they were going to hire 130 new employees following the transition of business from our Canada plant being shut down and moved down here. In an all-employee meeting two months ago, we were told they had over 700 applicants but only chose to hire 70, or 10 percent. Right around the same time, 42 employees had left the company due to poor management. So they only gained 28 employees.
This was a slap in the face to ALL of us. That told us that we better prepare to start giving up more of our time because of the turnovers we were experiencing.
I could keep going on about how bad it is here, but I feel that what I have said is enough.
It’s time the employees that helped Deere achieve its $6 billion in profits get what they deserve, and not what the union and Deere decided behind closed doors! It’s time the employees get their voices heard!
Deere workers: Take the next step by getting involved with the Deere Rank-and-File Committee. Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or texting (484) 514-9797.