For anyone just catching up on the 10,000 worker UAW strike at John Deere -- the largest strike in the US in two years -- here's how you can get up to speed, based on what I've written for @labornotes:
@labornotes In early September, Deere presented a disastrously bad first offer to the membership. They likely wanted to lower expectations by super-lowballing them, but ended up pissing everybody off, and members authorized a strike by 99%.…
@labornotes They got to the edge of a strike on October 1st, but at the very last second, the UAW and Deere announced an "extension," averting a strike and further pissing off members. Then a tentative agreement that they wouldn't let anyone see for a week.…
@labornotes On Sunday, members shocked both the union and the company by rejecting the contract by a whopping 90%, with 90% of members voting. This seems to have been a wake-up call to the UAW, who quickly announced a strike deadline of tonight:…
@labornotes Today, management continued to threaten workers and pressure them to settle, while non-union salaried workers began leaking documents to Labor Notes and expressing their support of the union members' cause.…
@labornotes Hovering in the background of all of this is a national referendum in the UAW on direct elections for top union officers. This is in response to the historic corruption scandal, but also fueled by members anger at decades of give-backs and concessions.…
@labornotes The Deere strike in particular is about:
--> Corporate profits against stagnating wages
--> Decades of two-tier and concessionary contracts coming home to roost
--> A member revolt against the status quo tacitly endorsed by the status quo
--> Tight labor market and the pandemic

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More from @JonahFurman

15 Oct
Long thread, but important: John Deere workers have reached out to me frustrated about media repeating company talking points that workers make 60-70k a year. One who's been there over a decade showed me what they made in 2020: Under $40k. So let’s talk about wages at John Deere. Image
First of all, the pandemic caused layoffs, for which workers were not paid by Deere. Layoffs even in normal times are not uncommon. Deere’s “$60k/year” figure is based on working 2200 hours; that’s over 42 hours per week for 52 weeks in a year.
But most Deere plants have layoffs that can run up to 3 months of the year, so many workers don’t get those hours. In 2015, the last contract passed by under 200 votes, because many workers were laid off, wanted the ratification bonus, & didn’t know when they’d be working again.
Read 13 tweets
14 Oct
It's on.
Read 6 tweets
14 Oct
From a salary worker @ Deere:

"The Deere "strikebreakers" are currently ~650 salary employees pulled from engineering & mgmt positions across Deere. Note: I say "Strikebreakers" because I can guarantee that with our lack of skill and numbers, we will not be breaking the strike."
"To my knowledge, most of us will be allocated to the Milan Parts center. Deere's spent an enormous amount of time, money, & effort trying to get us all trained, but not many of us are really ready for this. We'll be working 12 hour shifts, 6 days/week, with day & night shifts."
"In my position, I am not looking forward to this. I think the wage employees deserve a lot more than what they were offered, and I absolutely support them striking."
Read 6 tweets
12 Oct
Just got this beautiful (anonymous) testimony from a John Deere worker:

"We know it's not going to be easy, but we are all ready. This is only 2nd contract for many (a lot of new hires in 2010 & 11). I know I was there 6 years ago. People were angry then. We were ready then..."
"This time, so much different. There is much more anger. We are tired. We are tired of making pennies. Tired of spending more time in the building then with our family. We have given them so much of our life. So many more are thinking of their future..."
"We have some in their 70s still working for the healthcare. We don't want a 2 tier. They are trying to create a 3 tier. We will not sell out our younger brother and sisters..."
Read 5 tweets
8 Oct
This week I wrote a bunch of stories for Labor Notes, all righteous union fights:

A thread 🧵
On 10,000 union members at John Deere's fight for a fair contract, as trust erodes between members and the UAW International after years of corruption and concessionary contracts, and as the company tries to eliminate the pension and give meager raises:…
On the Kellogg's strike, and how 1400 workers are fighting back as the company goes for the kill, also ending the pension and gutting pay, while cutting hundreds of jobs:…
Read 6 tweets

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