Trade unions representing workers at John Deere around the world met in Frankfurt, Germany on 20 and 21 June.

Trade union network at John Deere favours social dialogue

26.06.2017

Trade union delegates from all continents where John Deere operates came together and discussed their needs at the growing multinational in Frankfurt, Germany, from 20 to 21 June. 

Trade unionists from Brazil, Finland, Germany, India, Spain and the United States met to discuss their concerns at the agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery company. While the overall situation at Deere is positive (especially compared to some of its competitors), there is always a need for trade unions to keep informed and prepare for the future.

On 1 June 2017, Deere announced it will acquire the Wirtgen group, a leading German producer of road construction equipment. It will bring approximately 8,000 new employees to the group and change Deere’s industrial footprint. After the integration of the Wirtgen group, Deere will have a stronger presence in the construction machinery sector.

Delegates discussed the consequences of this purchase and stressed the need for further cooperation to ensure the new entity becomes not only part of the company, but also the union-family.

As well as adopting a work plan for the coming year, the trade union network also resolved to approach Deere for meaningful dialogue between trade union organizations and company management in the near future. US union UAW will take the lead in order to verify whether there is also the readiness from company side to enter into social dialogue.

Delegates recognized the need for increasing participation from younger workers and women in unions, with Tim Bressler, UAW network chair, encouraging the participating unions to do more in this area.

Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL director, summarised the meeting:

Although this is a quite a young network in the mechanical engineering sector, we have made great progress over the last three years. We not only have created a union structure, we also have built the necessary trust among the unions, which is crucial for a meaningful exchange. Now it seems the right time to also reach out to the management in order to offer a fruitful social dialogue on a global level.