Iowa gubernatorial candidate urges 'critical conversation' on workers' needs amid John Deere strike

Iowa state Rep. Ras Smith (D), who is running for governor, says the best course of action amid the strike by John Deere employees is to have “real critical conversations” that address workers’ needs.

More than 10,000 employees of John Deere went on strike last week after they were unable to come to an agreement regarding pay raises.

Employees who are represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union started striking after they turned down an offer from John Deere that would have immediately provided 5 percent to 6 percent wage hikes for most workers.

Smith, who previously voiced support for the workers on strike and represents a district where one of John Deere’s operations facilities is located, said the contract workers were offered does not reflect the “essential nature of their work.”

“What we're seeing is a company that's really pushing and stretching these opportunities, when the best course of action is to have real critical conversation about how we can address the need of workers,” Smith said during a Tuesday appearance on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”

“Get folks back to work. By doing so, showing a contract that's respectful. These are individuals who last year were considering to be essential workers. I don't think this contract, though, reflects that essential nature of their work,” he added.