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.
The top base pay for most workers at Deere is about $20. When we talk about a “$1 raise,” people are referring to the 5% increase in the first year that Deere offered.
But when Deere puts out wage figures about “Making the Best Pay BETTER,” in the fine print they said it’s an estimate based on “CIPP 120%.” That refers to the Continuous Improvement Pay Plan. Let’s talk about CIPP.
CIPP is a “team-based incentive pay,” which means you get paid extra according to how much your department produces, based on quotas set by the company. Every 6 months, the company ups the quota by 2%. Even if pay doesn’t go up, or there are no more cuts to “inefficiency” to make
If you hit 115% or more of your CIPP quota, money goes into a reserve fund that pays out quarterly. But if your plan is “failing” (under 115% of the quota), money comes out of the reserve fund. Many workers see pennies or nothing at all from their CIPP payments.
But some workers see a good amount from CIPP pay! Which means that the workforce is divided. You can be working in a plant and look across from you and your coworker is making twice as much as you, because they’re in a different “department” with a different CIPP quota.
The kicker is that many workers don’t know how much they’re making specifically, as the company no longer provides pay stubs unless workers go in and print them out themselves.
At least one local picketed over this in 2016, but Deere didn’t budge. One local leader speculates there’s a ton of wage theft at Deere, with people working out of title, making lower pay than they’re contractually owed. But nobody knows! Because many people never see a pay stub.
Don't miss the forest for the trees. These workers make about $20 an hour for a CEO that makes $7,000 an hour, building machines that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, for a company that's profiting close to $6 billion *this year*. Deere can afford it, & workers need it.
Oh and one more thing about CIPP!

During the pandemic, due to supply chain issues, departments were obviously unable to reach 115% of their "quotas." In many cases the company said "oh well, you don't get your incentive pay!"

This is insane!
But an arbitrator ruled in favor of the company to the tune of millions of dollars, because of weak contract language, which the new agreement did nothing to address.

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More from @JonahFurman

14 Oct
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.

Read 7 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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