US Agriculture Secretary Vilsack offers support to striking Deere workers


By Tom Polansek 

  ANKENY, Iowa (Reuters) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack go toed placing union members outfacet a Deere & Co farm gear plant in Iowa on Wednesday, informing staff he assists them and the nation wants them. 

  Deere staff represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) are becoming a member of hundreds of completely different U.S. staff Who’ve gone on strike in current months, demanding greater pay and greater working circumstances. 

  Emboldened by An reliable jobs market and an administration they confacetr sypathetic to unions, staff say the strikes are fueled Partially by frustration over cuts to healthcare and retirement advantages at a time when their employers are reporting doc-breaking returns. 

  “You are employed exhausting And also you deserve A great worth and A great deal,” Vilsack informed picketers. He said he Can be joyful To inform Deere Chief Authorities Officer John Might how important It is to resolve the dispute shortly and pretty. 

  The agency in August raised its full-yr earnings forecast amid strong demand. 

  Deere officers have repeatedly said They Want to resolve the strike and maintaInside their staff’ standing as Definitely one of the biggest paid Inside the enterprise. 

  The strike at Deere, The Most very important U.S. farm gear maker, started on Oct. 14 after 90% of hourly staff rejected the agency’s contract supply. Now, about 10,000 staff throughout 14 U.S. places are on strike. 

  The strike Is occurring In the midst of the U.S. corn and soybean harvest as farmers are struggling To Search out parts for tractors and combines. 

  “We Look after the farmers,” said Keith Chada, a committeeman for the UAW, who was On the Ankeny plant. 

  “At The prime of the day, We’d Want to have The power To place Our youngsters by way of school, Be In a place to afford the issues thOn these people can afford on The completely different facet.” 

  As Vilsack pulled up in a SUV, protesters outfacet the plant waved blue and white indicators declaring “UAW on strike.” Drivers honked their horns in assist as they drove previous. 

  Vilsack shook palms and wished protesters luck. At one level, he pulled out an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees lifetime honorary membership card from his pocket. 

  “It means Tons that he acquired here out To level out assist for us,” said Justin Limke, a UAW Native 450 Vice chairman who works as a painter Inside the plant. 

  The go to echoed Vilsack’s political previous in 1998, when the then-Iowa state senator was lagging in Iowa’s gubernatorial race. 

  “The UAW was with me from the get go,” Vilsack said. “You Do not overlook the People that have been with you.” 

  (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Ankeny, Iowa; Writing by Caroline Stauffer and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago; Modifying by Caroline Stauffer and Diane Craft)