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Elizabeth Warren backs Deere strike, says workers have had their backs “for decades”

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“Workers have had the small end of the stick for decades now,” Warren told CNN in a telephone interview. “And the government has stood on the side of the giant corporations. This is starting to change.”

“Workers know they’re not just another contribution, as CEOs often call them. They are the heart and soul that keeps companies moving,” said Warren.

When asked if she supports the striking Deere workers, Warren categorically replied, “Yes”.

Later, Warren said the Twitter that Deere “tries to cut expenses by providing decent wages and benefits to its workers” despite being on track for a record year of nearly $ 6 billion in profit.

“People are fed up with concessions”

Ninety percent of the UAW’s grassroots membership rejected ratification of a six-year interim contract the union made with Deere. The main sticking point in the contract centers on fairness for different workers with different pension plans, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich.

The strikes come at a time of soaring profits in US businesses – Deere’s net income for the first three quarters of the fiscal year ending Nov. 1 is up 84% from the same period in 2019 – and records on Wall Street. However, it is also a delicate period as companies are struggling to find workers.

There are currently near record numbers of job openings in the United States, and the labor shortage is driving inflation up and distorting global supply chains.
Record numbers of Americans quit their jobs

“It’s a sign of the times, businesses are overflowing with cash, there is a labor shortage, and people are tired of the concessions they have had to make and they know it is their time. The conditions are favorable for the workers, “said the person concerned. knowledge of the negotiations told CNN.

A record 4.3 million people left their jobs in August, further proof of the influence workers have on today’s economy.

The rejected contract at Deere would have paid the average production worker about $ 72,000 at the end of the contract, compared to about $ 60,000 last year. The contract also provided for the return of a cost of living adjustment and improved benefits.

“We are committed to reaching a deal with the UAW that would put every employee in a better economic position and continue to make them the highest paid employees in agriculture and construction,” said Brad Morris, vice -President of Labor Relations at Deere. in a declaration. “We will continue to work day and night to understand our employees’ priorities and resolve this strike.”

For Warren, the strikes are about ensuring that workers get their fair share.

“Workers recognize that when they come together through the union,” she said, “they can wield real power and ensure that a company’s profits are shared more fairly among shareholders, leaders and workers – who actually do the work. “

– CNN’s Chris Isidore and Vanessa Yurkevich contributed to this report.

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