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Deere strike: A round-up of news about the strike on Oct. 19-20, 2021

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Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack visits Deere workers on strike

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack meets with UAW workers picketing outside a John Deere plant in Ankeny.

UAW members from Buffalo, New York, as well as Michigan and Ohio and AFSCME locals join Deere & Co. employees on the picket line in East Moline

Here's a round-up of news about the Deere strike from Oct. 19-20:

Truck speeds into John Deere Seeding Moline gate

Moline Police said a semi-truck entered Gate 24 of the John Deere Seeding plant in Moline driving “too fast” on the morning of Oct. 19 and near a group of union workers on the picket line.

Union members were near the driveway when the truck entered the gate. A night shift officer in a squad car was at the intersection when the truck entered the plant and asked the driver to drive slower upon entrance to the site.

The officer dealt with the incident like any “any other observed traffic infraction,” Moline police said in an email to the Quad-City Times/Moline Dispatch-Argus. No additional police were called to the scene.

Ag secretary visits UAW picket line in Ankeny

Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa governor, visited Deere workers on the picket line on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the John Deere Des Moines Works plant in Ankeny.

Vilsack had visited an Ankeny farm with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development earlier in the day, where he spoke with Lee Iowa Bureau Editor Erin Murphy about the UAW strike against John Deere.

“Twenty-three years ago this month, I was running for governor and I was behind. I was way behind. … UAW was with me from the get-go,” Vilsack said. “You don’t forget the people who were with you …. UAW is important to me. I sincerely hope they get this resolved as quickly as possible and as fairly as possible.”

Sen. Grassley on UAW strike

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters from The Gazette that he doesn’t “find any fault with Vilsack” going to the picket lines.

“Well, I would see it as positive from this standpoint that we have Deere workers and their families now facing a very stressful situation,” Grassley said. “And I presume that he's trying to give them some comfort by going there. He can't do much more because, you know, it's covered by federal law, the bargaining process, and the negotiations are ongoing.

Grassley, a member of the International Association of Machinists in Waterloo, said it is not an easy decision to go without a paycheck.

“(Negotiations are) covered by law, and just have to wait until they work their way through it,” Grassley said. “There seems to be a movement nationally, because of the worker shortage, that unions have a lot more power bargaining now than they have before. I'm not sure I know how that affects the Deere workers. But we just have to wait until the bargaining gets done.”

When asked about the impact of the strike, Grassley said he is only able to speculate but is following the negotiations closely.

“I've heard concerns about farmers maybe needing parts and we have this supply chain problem,” Grassley said. “It could make that worse, but I don't have any evidence of that at this point.”


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