By this point, you’ve almost definitely heard that John Deere workers are striking this week, in large part because they’re looking for an increase in wages. You might have also heard that Deere decided to staff the assembly line with temporary, non-union workers. Turns out, that wasn’t such a good idea.
In fact, on the first full day of Deere using those non-union workers, an ambulance arrived on the scene well before eight in the morning. Here’s a clip from Jonah Furman, who shared a recording on Twitter:
There’s not really any clear indication of what happened here, but Furman reported later that the fire department claimed emergency services were dispatched for medical reasons, not an accident.
That’s not the only situation that took place, either. A different non-union worker crashed a tractor inside the plant while trying to pull it into a repair bay. Turns out, that worker wasn’t exactly sure where the front weights were, and they crashed into an electrical box. The tractor was only a little scuffed, but the electrical box needed some repairs.
Deere brought in some of the salaried, non-union workers to pick up the slack after its hourly-wage, unionized workers headed out to the picket line. Many of these salaried workers are non-union because they don’t work on the factory floor and don’t often need the bargaining power to demand competitive hourly wages.
Deere also made it clear that it would be expecting these salaried workers to take on the unionized positions should a strike take place. These workers often aren’t qualified to be working on the factory floor, since they’re not likely to be doing any actual tractor assembly in their daily work.
Expecting these unqualified workers take on positions that can be inherently dangerous to anyone — but especially to those who haven’t trained to perform these tasks — is almost asking for disaster. We hope that none of these workers incur any serious injures, as much as we hope Deere realizes the inherent danger of its actions.