Just Climate Action Requires Valuing All Workers

by | Nov 1, 2021 | Featured, Instagram, News

When we ask our supporters, “Why do you take climate action?” you often answer “for future generations.” We take bold and just actions on the climate crisis because the future is important to us. We live beyond the immediate and now. Care for creation and of future generations’ potential is something we take seriously. As people of faith and conscience who value living in a right relationship with our neighbors and planet, we know taking climate action to make the lasting impact we need requires everyone. 

On October 14th, 10,100 John Deere UAW union workers went on strike. In Iowa, this is big news. We are known for agriculture. Iowa is the original home to the global giant John Deere. They are a huge part of the history of our state. The nearly 8,000 UAW workers at the six plants in Iowa and both sides of the river in the Quad Cities touch tens of thousands of more lives in scores of communities. At Iowa IPL we stand with our siblings striking for fair wages, compensation, and dignity because they are advocating for future generations and all workers. These are the very values we need to shape bold and just action for the environmental justice movement.

Like us, who take climate action for future generations, the UAW John Deere strikers stand with the employees that come after them.

Recently, Iowa IPL has participated in the new Iowa Blue Green Alliance, which brings environmental and labor groups together to take collective action. We focus on working together across issues and policy to strengthen all workers, our communities, and our state as we move towards a green economy. We’re talking about advocating for union-made electric vehicles, union-led clean energy projects, and creating new green jobs that embrace the quality of work, levels of safety, and wages that Iowa’s labor movement has advanced for decades. Valuing all workers is integral to environmental justice. Iowa’s labor movement is a natural partner for faith-based climate action. The Build Back Better agenda of the Biden administration, is another example of how investing in workers and investing in a greener future can significantly move us towards a better quality of life for all Americans. 

Infographic by Iowa Starting Line and used with permission

While all workers owe so much to the labor movement in the last century, unions continue to provide a vital force for shaping our future. The UAW John Deere members are fighting for worker justice, for those who will follow them, good paying jobs in our state, and for continuing to produce high-quality equipment so farmers can keep producing food and other agricultural products.

The UAW workers believe so much in the value of their own work, the value of future workers, and the value of all workers that they were willing to sacrifice by going on strike and be without wages for as long as it takes for a fair contract. It’s not a small thing – it’s a huge burden on their families who rely on a paycheck from John Deere. The stress can take a toll on their mental and physical health. The value of  unions is that they are communities that take care of each other. There is a beauty in that kind of community and solidarity. It’s the kind of solidarity we need to shape a better world for not only ourselves but also our children, grandchildren, and future generations for centuries to come. So we need to show up for these striking workers as well. As people of faith and conscience, we do not live in scarcity, we live in a world of abundance where we value fair contracts, wages, and dignity. 

On Tuesday, November 2nd, the UAW locals voted on the latest contract between the union and John Deere. It did not pass and the strike will continue. We hope you will join us in praying for the UAW strikers and their families as they continue to strike. We pray for the leadership at John Deere as they negotiate with their union workers. We pray the strike is resolved, as so many have been resolved in our nation’s past, with an agreement that creates win-win opportunities. This is what’s possible when we come together to shape a future that works for all of us, including those who will come after us.

If you would like to support any of the local unions, all are taking donations. We have listed each John Deere UAW local in our state (and Moline, IL) with some of their needs and how you can help. 

  • Ankeny, Local 450 | 515-283-1784
    • The Ankeny local is working with DMARC Food Pantry to provide supplies to UAW workers. You can donate online, choose designate gift and choose DMARC Food Pantry network, and put “Donation for UAW strikers and families” in the Additional Instructions box. If you have questions for DMARC, you can call 515-277-6969 ext. 10.
  • Davenport, Local 281 | 563-386-0284
    • Anything is welcome to be donated at the Davenport local. No direct monetary donations can be accepted.
    • The Davenport local is providing foods through the Davenport Fareway Grocery, located at 1635 W. 53rd St, Davenport, IA 52806. You can make a donation in person or send a check. If you are sending a check, please specify in the memo to go towards the UAW account.
  • Dubuque, Local 94 | 563-583-1779
    • Anything is welcome to be donated at the Dubuque local. No direct monetary donations can be accepted.
    • The Dubuque local is providing foods through the Dubuque Fareway Grocery, located at 2050 John F. Kennedy Road, Dubuque, IA 52002. You can make a donation in person or send a check. If you are sending a check, please specify in the memo to go towards the UAW account.
  • Moline, IL, Local 434, 865, & 79 | 309-755-5046
    • Specific items in high demand in Moline include: diapers, canned goods, ponchos, hand warmers, firewood, and paper towels.
  • Ottumwa, Local 74 | 641-682-0897
    • The Ottumwa local is providing food to UAW workers through the Ottumwa Fareway Grocery, located at 1325 Albia Rd, Ottumwa, IA 52501. If you are sending a check, please specify in the memo to go towards the UAW account. Some specific items in high demand include: non-perishable food, water, soda, and bread.
  • Waterloo, Local 838 | 319-233-3049
    • Anything is welcome to be donated at the Waterloo local. No direct monetary donations can be accepted.
    • The Waterloo local is providing foods through the Waterloo Fareway Grocery, located at 40 W San Marnan Dr., Waterloo, IA 50701 and the Evansdale Fareway Grocery, located at 215 S Evans Rd, Evansdale, IA 50707. You can make a donation in person or send a check. If you are sending a check, please specify in the memo to go towards the UAW account.

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