Farm Worker Union Launches Second Month of Walkout Over Contract

The 25,000 farm workers going on strike against massive equipment maker John Deere Incorporated in July entered a second month Monday, after union negotiators reached a tentative contract. “There was a partial deal, because…

Farm Worker Union Launches Second Month of Walkout Over Contract

The 25,000 farm workers going on strike against massive equipment maker John Deere Incorporated in July entered a second month Monday, after union negotiators reached a tentative contract.

“There was a partial deal, because they did not give us the contract on everything that we asked for,” union president Gerald Carraro told reporters Monday. “Hopefully, it will be a good deal.”

READ: John Deere workers heading on strike vow to keep construction jobs

Union workers returned to work Sunday after a three-day protest outside the company’s plant in the Black Hills town of Huron, S.D. The United Farm Workers of America brought their demands for better wages and benefits to the protest, but a deal on those issues was not reached.

The five-year contract covers seasonal workers in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Carraro said the strike had “no impact whatsoever” on production, but that 60 percent of the company’s workers in Iowa were not participating in the strike. Union members also operate as co-workers with the company.

John Deere officials released a statement that said: “We are grateful that the union is continuing to work cooperatively toward a new contract. We are confident that agreement will be reached soon.”

Carraro says the union wants a 10 percent raise for laborers, compensation for overtime hours, a company buyout of union ownership, and a longer break period for union workers who accept an option to retire, given the thinning out of some parts of the industry.

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