Iowa History Daily: August 23 - Deere Strike!

Iowa History Daily: On August 23, 1986, the longest ever John Deere strike started in Waterloo and Dubuque. Also initially involving the Deere facility in Milan, Illinois, the 163 day strike and lockout additionally shutdown fourteen facilities throughout the country.

As the Farm Crisis gripped the agricultural sector of the American economy during the early 1980s, Deere & Company experienced consistent losses. After 3rd Quarter losses reached $39.6 million ($97,900,000 modern), negotiations between the United Auto Workers representation of employees and the company struggled to reach a new contract.

Initially negotiations started in early April 1986, and after 138 days the two sides still could not reach an agreement. On Saturday, August 23, at 12:01 a.m. roughly 4,300 started striking at the John Deere Foundry in Waterloo and the Industrial Equipment Production facility in Dubuque. The following Monday, Deere shut down production at eleven facilities covered under the union contract, moving the total number to 14 and prompting union officials to declare the action a lock out.

For 163 days the strike and lockout raged as employees struggled. Court-ordered mediation resulted in a tentative agreement during early 1987. On February 1, 1987 84% of UAW member votes ratified a new 20-month contract featuring improvements in job security for most positions, health and life insurance, retirement pension, profit sharing, and cost-of-living adjustments. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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