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John Deere management ‘overestimated power’ in union negotiations

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub

Workers at Deere & Company have rejected a contract proposal negotiated by their union for the second time, further extending their strike.

Harry Katz, professor of collective bargaining at Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations, says workers have more bargaining power now and management at Deere have overestimated their power in the negotiations.

Harry Katz

Jack Sheinkman Professor of Collective Bargaining & Director, Scheinman Institute

“Workers clearly have more bargaining power now as compared to the previous several years given that labor markets have tightened, and the economic recovery continues.

“We know that strikes often occur when one side or the other overestimates its power and miscalculates the power held by the other side. At Deere it appears that management had overestimated its power and had to significantly up its offer to end the impasse.

“At the same time, events should be seen in context. Overall labor still faces severe challenges due to managements’ frequent ability to move production to non-union and international alternative sources of supply.”

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