John Deere Strike: Judge Issues Restraining Order on Picketing Workers

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

10,000 John Deere workers went on strike at the stroke of midnight on October 14th. They’re hoping to convince one of the nation’s most profitable manufacturers to pay them a fair wage. Additionally, they hope to make Deere execs change their minds about eliminating pension plans for new employees. The workers are over a week into the strike and show no signs of walking away from the picket line until Deere brings something satisfactory to the table.

However, picketers at one Iowa plant are seeing some difficulty. Scott County Iowa’s chief judge Marlita Greve granted John Deere an injunction that limits how workers can conduct themselves during the strike. The order came down yesterday. It states that the UAW can only post four workers near each gate of the Davenport John Deere plant. Furthermore, the injunction bans the use of chairs and barrel fires by striking workers, according to Quad-City Times. The injunction keeps the number of picketers low while ensuring that they are as uncomfortable as possible as temps drop across the country.

Jen Hartman, John Deere’s director of PR and enterprise social media spoke about the injunction. She said, “Deere & Co. was granted an order for temporary injunction to maintain a safe environment for all our employees and contractors – including those reporting to work and those exercising their right to strike,” of the order. She went on to say that the judge granted John Deere the injunction for safety reasons. It allows John Deere’s contractors and non-union employees to come and go safely during the strike.

More Details on the John Deere Strike Injunction

Lawyers for John Deere submitted a 10-page motion to the Scott County court on Wednesday. In that motion, they stated that striking union workers “trespassed” on company property. Furthermore, they claimed that union workers “attempted to prevent or hinder non-striking employees, customers, and/or suppliers from entering or exiting,” the Davenport John Deere plant.

Paul Iversen, a staff member at the University of Iowa’s Labor Center weighed in on the injunction. He pointed out that it is unusual to see an injunction banning chairs and fire barrels. “The fact that you have something to keep you warm on a cold day is not usually the subject of an injunction over things that can cause harm to Deere. It’s hard to see how burn barrels and chairs could cause harm to the company.”

He added that the injunction is one of the most restrictive ones he’s seen as far as the number of picketers it allows. “Four is pretty low. Typically you’ll see six or eight.”

Quad-City Times reported that the workers at the Davenport John Deere plant are abiding by the new restrictive strike rules.