DES MOINES, Iowa — Drake University's Center of Professional Studies Director Lance Noe believes the John Deere strike is significant for three key reasons. First, John Deere is a Fortune 500 Company. It employs over 10,000 union workers. And finally, it hasn't had a strike in 35 years.
He believes all these factors elevated its visibility, allowing the process to serve as a model to other unions.
"That's certainly a model that not only other unions will look at, but also that I think companies and corporations will look at in terms of the decisions they made going forward," said Noe.
Noe said union membership has declined by about a half since the 1980s. While that's due to a number of reasons, like fewer manufacturers, he believes the John Deere strike might serve as an example of the role unions can play.
"Unions are still delivering a higher wage and a higher benefits package, typically, versus a non-union situation," Noe said.
Iowa State University Economics Professor Peter Orazem believes asking and searching for higher wages and better benefits is something that is becoming more prominent.
"We know that compensation terms are rising in non-union settings as well," said Orazem. "So we've had generally rising wages across the board in in a lot of different sectors. So that's a good bargaining position for unions."
Orazem said he believes inflation will also play a big role in future union negotiations.
"It's also going to raise issues in terms of management and labor having to make projections as to what the future path of the value of the dollar is going to be," said Orazem. "So you're more likely to have disagreements under conditions where you're not sure what the value of the dollar is going to be one, two, three years down the road."
For the UAW members who spent over a month on the picket lines, they're hopeful their impact is a lasting one.
"The support has been very overwhelming," said UAW member Chris Laursen. "And it helped us do what we did. I think it was a win for us and a win for labor in general."
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