U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack offers support to striking Deere workers

By Tom Polansek ANKENY, Iowa (Reuters) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited striking union members outside a Deere & Co farm equipment plant in Iowa on Wednesday, telling workers he supports them and the country needs them. Deere employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) are joining thousands of other U.S. workers who have gone on strike in recent months, demanding higher pay and better working conditions. Emboldened by a tight jobs market and an administration they consider sypathetic to unions, workers say the strikes are fueled in part by frustration over cuts to healthcare and retirement benefits