Companies Hit By Worker Strikes in Recent Weeks, John Deere Latest Impacted

Multiple companies have seen their workers go on strike in recent weeks, including Kellogg, group home workers and a New York hospital, with John Deere the latest impacted, the Associated Press reported.

This month, unionized employees for at least five companies have gone on strike while their unions attempt to negotiate with employers to resolve matters such as health care, wages and poor working conditions.

Kellogg's cereal plants halted production last Tuesday as workers went on strike to protest for better pay and benefits. Negotiations between the union and Kellogg had been at a standstill for over a year, AP reported.

Seattle-area carpenters with the Northwest Carpenters Union went on strike on September 16 and maintained their strike for nearly three weeks. Group home employees at Sunrise Inc. in Connecticut went on strike on Tuesday, and about 2,000 nurses and other employees at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, New York, went on strike on October 1.

More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers are prepared to go on strike if a new agreement isn't delivered by negotiators by the end of Wednesday.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Kellogg Strike
Workers at Kellogg’s cereal plants are striking over the loss of premium health care, holiday and vacation pay and reduced retirement benefits, joining other workers who have gone on strike in recent weeks. Above, Kellogg's cereal plant workers demonstrate in front of the plant on October 7, 2021, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The United Auto Workers union has said its members would walk off the job if no deal has been reached by 11:59 p.m. The vast majority of the union rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would have delivered 5 percent raises to some workers and 6 percent raises to others.

Thirty-five years have passed since the last major Deere strike, but workers are emboldened to demand more this year after working long hours throughout the pandemic and because companies are facing worker shortages.

Chris Laursen, who works as a painter at Deere, told the Des Moines Register that he thinks a strike is imminent and could make a significant difference.

"The whole nation's going to be watching us," Laursen said. "If we take a stand here for ourselves, our families, for basic human prosperity, it's going to make a difference for the whole manufacturing industry. Let's do it. Let's not be intimidated."

Earlier this year, another group of UAW-represented workers went on strike at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia and wound up with better pay and lower-cost health benefits after rejecting three tentative contract offers.

The contracts being under negotiation cover 14 Deere plants across the United States, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one each in Colorado, Georgia and Kansas.

The contract talks at the Moline, Illinois-based company are unfolding as Deere is expecting to report record profits between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion this year. The company has been reporting strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment this year.

The Deere production plants are an important contributors to the economy, so local officials hope any strike will be short-lived.

"We definitely want to see our economy stabilize and grow after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati told the Quad-Cities Times. "Hopefully, these parties can come to a resolution soon."

John Deere Strike
The vast majority of United Auto Workers union members rejected a contract offer from Deere & Co. on October 10, 2021, that would have delivered at least 5 percent raises to the workers who make John Deere tractors and other equipment. Above, wheels are attached as workers assemble a tractor at John Deere's Waterloo, Iowa, assembly plant on April 9, 2019. Zach Boyden-Holmes/Telegraph Herald via AP, File