Deere & Co. employees under the United Auto Workers Local 865 union voted to pass strike authorization on Sept. 12.
The vote does not indicate that Deere employees will strike, just that they are now authorized to do so if they feel it is necessary amid contract negotiations which started in August, according to Brian Rothenberg, senior communications advisor. Strike authorization is a common occurrence in contract negotiations.
“Part of going to the table is being able to say we'll walk away from the table if we need to,” Rothenberg said.
To authorize a strike, union members vote individually at each location the contract covers. Despite not knowing the levels from this vote, Rothenberg said the authorizations commonly pass in the mid- to high-90s.
The current six-year agreement that expires on Oct. 1 covers 10,100 production and maintenance employees across 12 Deere facilities, according to a news release.
The facilities located in Iowa are Davenport Works, Des Moines Works, Dubuque Works, Ottumwa Works, and Waterloo Works, including Tractor and Cab Assembly, Engine Works, and the Foundry. In Illinois, Harvester Works in East Moline, North American Parts Distribution Center in Milan and the Seeding Group and Cylinder Division in Moline fall under the agreement.