John Deere worker strike receiving community support: ‘They’re really the backbone to us’

Iowa News

John Deere Drivetrain Operations workers in Waterloo, Iowa, stand on the picket line at the plant as the UAW officially started its strike on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Chris Zoeller/The Courier via AP)

ANKENY, Iowa (WHO-TV) – Negotiations are back on, but there is still no deal between John Deere and members of the United Auto Workers Union.

The employees may be the ones picketing, but they’re not fighting alone. People are trying to help those workers make up for lost paychecks.

The picket line continues outside the John Deere plant in Ankeny. As Dana Nappier walks outside the place she’s worked for almost two decades, she knows with each honk the community is with them.

“They’re really the backbone to us and we really do appreciate the support and the continued support,” Nappier said. 

Over at the UAW Local 450 headquarters, a different kind of line is set up to support those striking. Food, water, toiletries, and clothes are available to workers who are no longer receiving a paycheck.

“There’s gonna be a lot of people here, depending on how long it lasts, they’re gonna be food insecure,” Cyrus Miller, chair for community service committee at UAW Local 450, said.

Miller is in charge of organizing the donations that come in and says they’re helpful for the 850 union members.

“We’re still trying to feed our families, and while we’re trying to better ourselves and better the future for new people coming in,” Miller said.

Starting this week, the striking workers will receive $275 per week in strike pay though the union, but that’s less than what they’d normally bring in.

Until a new contract is approved, workers will continue what they started.

“I hope we’re not at this long, but we’re in it for the haul,” Nappier said. 

The strike pay will last until a new contract is approved.

If you’d like to donate to UAW Local 450, you can find more information on its website and Facebook page.

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