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A new poll conducted by the Des Moines Register shows most Iowans support the striking UAW members in their fight with John Deere.
The John Deere workers have been out for five weeks.
Two tentative agreements between UAW negotiators and John Deere have been rejected by votes of the members.
Last week management offered what they called a “last, best and final offer.”
Rank-and-file will vote on it on Wednesday.
Reports are that there is not much that is new in the most recent offer that wasn’t already rejected.
Meanwhile, a poll of Iowans by the Des Moines Register show broad support of the strikers by Iowans.
58% support the workers. 16% of Iowans support management.
Striking UAW members have a majority or plurality of Iowans' support regardless of political party, age, gender, educational attainment, religious affiliation, income bracket or whether they live in a rural or urban area.
Younger Iowans, Democrats and those without a religious affiliation are the most likely to say they support the workers over the company.
Among respondents under 35, 72% say they side with the workers, while 4% say they side with Deere. Fifty-two percent of Iowans 35 or older side with workers; 21% side with the company.
Among Democrats, 75% side with the workers and 7% with the company. Among independents, 55% support the workers and 16% the company. A plurality of Republicans (49%) also support the workers, compared to 24% who say they side with the company.
Interestingly, another poll taken by the Register shows a hypothetical match-up between Trump and Biden haveing Trump leading with an 11% edge.
Nobody can say how the strikers will respond to the company’s last ultimatum.
As I said, there doesn’t seem much that is new.
As I heard about some of the details of the company’s “last, best and final offer,” it brought me back 50 years ago when I worked at the Uniroyal Tire and Rubber factory in City of Commerce, California.
I worked as a tire maker, attaching the thick rubber to the threads that would later be molded into a tire. As we slid the rubber barrel off the machine and on to nearby rack an analog counter would flip, displaying how many tires we had made up to that point in the 8 to 12 hour shift.
Our pay was based on whether we made a company established rate. But if we made rate for a week, the rate was raised and we had to make more tires the next week to make rate.
It was a racket.
It didn’t take us and our co-workers to figure out that it was in our interest to pick a few days when we slowed down in order not to make rate.
And truth be told, a few tire builders figured out that if you smacked the counter with the palm of your hand just as the tire was coming off the machine, the analog box would flip two numbers.
So, the latest John Deere offer reminded me of those days at Uniroyal.
The main adjustment in the latest offer according to a Facebook post from UAW Local 838 in Waterloo is in the company's Continuous Improvement Performance Plan.
Under the plan, known internally as CIPP, Deere assigns workers at its factories to teams. The company gives those teams performance targets. If teams hit 115% of their goal, those workers receive a 15% pay increase for the week.
However, the company as part of the third contract would change benchmarks for measuring efficiency.
Under the current contract, the company raises standards for any team that hits at least 119.67% of its performance target over 26 weeks.
For example, if a group of assemblers make more tractors than the company expected in the first half of the year, the company will raise the standard in the second half of the year.
If the assemblers continue to make the same number of tractors as they did in the first half of the year, their pay will actually drop by 2% because they aren't hitting the new, higher standard.