John Deere got a judge to ban folding chairs at the picket line.
On strike in November in the Midwest.
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18 years ago, this very week in November, our teacher union local, the District 64 Park Ridge Education Association, walked out on strike.
We were out on the picket lines for a week before the board of eduction relented on the issue of the cost of family health insurance coverage.
Today, Sunday, reminds me of that week.
That week in 2003 it was cold, windy and it snows off and on.
This week in Davenport and Moline it is cold, windy and snow is expected.
Walking a picket line in November in the Midwest isn’t easy.
That’s what 10,000 UAW John Deere workers are doing today.
When we drove out to Moline four weeks ago it was a beautiful Fall day. Joggers were running the path through the park that lines the Mississippi.
UAW rank-and-file strikers have already voted down two tentative agreements negotiated by the UAW and John Deere.
The first TA was rejected by over 90% of the membership.
A second TA was rejected by 55% of the membership.
On Wednesday they will vote again.
This time it will not be on a tentative agreement. Members will be voting on a “last, best and final offer” from the John Deere bosses.
As I understand it, the UAW leadership is offering it for a vote without a recommendation to accept or reject it.
But a “last, best and final offer” is like the bosses saying to take it or leave it.
What if they leave it and vote it down again?
They may bargain some more anyway. They may go to binding arbitration. They may try and break the strike some other way.
It will be more than interesting to see what the members do.
Two days after the ratification vote on the “last, best and final offer,” there will be a hearing on a complaint about John Deere’s bullying workers who have been doing shifts on the picket line.
An Iowa judge has issued an injunction at John Deere’s request that there be no folding chairs at the picket line.
No folding chairs. No fire barrels.
The injunction filed on Oct. 20 Chief Judge Marlita Greve ordered the UAW to have no more than four picketers "near" each gate of Davenport Works, banned the use of chairs and barrel fires by picketers.
Labor law experts who reviewed the Deere injunction said the ban on chairs and fire barrels is unusual at best.
The decision by Judge Greve was issued without union lawyers present.
So, this cold November week John Deere picketers at Davenport Works were without chairs or burn barrels to guard against the wind, rain and snow.
Picketers continue to walk the line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, despite shorter daylight hours.
And Wednesday they will vote for the third time.