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John Deere unions meet to strengthen cooperation

17 June, 2016IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in North America, Brazil, Spain and Germany met in Detroit, Michigan on 13 and 14 June to advance IndustriALL’s John Deere trade union network.

Affiliates agreed to take concrete steps to improve collaboration and strengthen the network at the US based, globally active manufacturer of agricultural, construction and forestry machinery.

Participants from India were unable to attend, due to visas difficulties. Finland was also not able to participate, but the Finnish metal union expressed its commitment to the network.

Participants shared information about the challenging economic climate and the state of collective bargaining with John Deere in their countries. United Auto Workers (UAW) representative Tim Bressler, who also chairs the network, gave insight into the American and global market for John Deere products.

As agreed at the previous year’s network meeting, the discussions focused on specific issues, particularly a comparison of the industrial relations systems in the countries present at the meeting. This year, participants looked more deeply into the trade union systems of Spain and Germany. There was also a major focus on Brazil, where a political and economical crisis is the biggest challenge for IndustriALL affiliates in the sector.

Participants reconfirmed the joint working platform - the IndustriALL John Deere Network Guidelines and Principles - adopted the previous year, which defines the objectives of the network. By executing this working platform, the network will work on a further broadening its regional footprint and help trade unions to organize in their respective countries.

UAW vice president Norwood Jewell visited the network and confirmed the commitment of UAW to support and strengthen the network. Tim Bressler (UAW), Torsten Jann (IG Metall) and IndustriALL’s director of mechanical engineering and materials industries, Matthias Hartwich, will take care of the network´s progress and further activities. The network also decided to conduct another physical meeting next year.

Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL director, confirmed:

“IndustriALL Global Union is highly committed to fostering the John Deere network. It is one of the most important trade union networks in IndustriALL´s mechanical engineering sector. It is important that we stand together and show trade union solidarity within the sector, and also the company specific networks, especially with our struggling brothers and sisters from Brazil and also our dear brothers and sisters in India, although they could not attend this time.

"At the same time, we must do more to encourage women to take an active role in the John Deere network.“