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Timeline of the Deere, UAW strike

On top of supply shortages, and harvest season demands, labor disputes plagued John Deere through the months of October and November. Below is a timeline of the situation and coverage from Successful Farming.

October 1, 2021

The United Auto Workers’ (UAW) contract with Deere & Company was set to expire on October 1. After six weeks of negotiations leading up to the deadline, the parties reached a tentative agreement.

October 14, 2021

Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson says striking John Deere workers will likely win a favorable outcome. “They’re not striking from a position of weakness,” Swenson said. “From what I can tell, I don’t see how this strike lasts a long time.”

October 15, 2021

Deere & Company said managers and other salaried workers will keep its factories running as 10,000 union workers went on strike.

“Strikes are never easy on workers or their families, but John Deere workers believe they deserve a better share of the pie, a safer workplace, and adequate benefits,” said UAW official Mitchell Smith.

October 20, 2021

U.S. secretary of agriculture and Iowa native Tom Vilsack met with striking UAW members at the John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny, Iowa. One worker’s sign read, “Essential then, but not now. Why?”

USDA secretary Tom Vilsack meets with UAW workers striking outside John Deere
Photo credit: USDA

October 22, 2021

John Deere dealers remain quiet as harvest season progresses and the strike of more than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers continues.

October 27, 2021

A UAW member crossing the street outside a John Deere Parts Distribution Center in Milan, Illinois was struck by a vehicle and killed before sunrise.

October 29, 2021

As UAW union members at John Deere entered their 16th day on strike, a group of Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) members delivered food and supplies in support of their efforts. Made by Local 110 members at General Mills and Quaker in Cedar Rapids, the donation included diapers, hand warmers, toiletries, food, frozen meat, as well as cases of cereal and snacks.

October 30, 2021

Deere & Co. reached a tentative 6-year agreement with the UAW on Saturday. The agreement will remain tentative until ratified by the union in the weeks to come.

November 1, 2021

UAW members will remain on strike while a tentative agreement is being considered. According to KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, union members will vote Tuesday, November 2 on the proposal.

November 2, 2021

UAW workers voted down the tentative agreement, and will stay on strike.

November 3, 2021

Deere says it will keep all options open as the strike continues across 12 facilites. The agreement rejected by UAW members on November 2 was Deere's "best and final" offer, the company said.

November 17, 2021

UAW members are scheduled to vote on a third tentative agreement, that if ratified, would put an end to the strike. Details of this contract have not been made public, beyond a statement from UAW describing this as a "last, best, and final offer" that included "modest modifications" to the agreement voted down November 2.

November 17, 2021

Late in the day the UAW union made a statement indicating a majority of Deere's striking workers voted to approve a modified contract proposed by the the company, ending a near six-week strike.

November 19, 2021

In a series of public statements and social media posts, political leaders congratulated UAW union members after they agreed to a new contract, ending the strike at John Deere plants.

“John Deere, the manufacturing industry, and the men and women who build essential ag equipment are critical to the success of Iowa’s economy,” Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra tweeted Thursday morning. “I’m glad to hear business leaders and workers were able to reach an agreement.”

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