The book "Worker Leadership — America's secret weapon in the battle for industrial competiveness" by Fred Stahl was just released this month by The MIT Press. It is based on many years of study about manufacturing in the world.
The John Deere Harvester Works was rated as No. 1 in the world over big names like Toyota. Dick Kleine, formerly from Ottumwa, is the “hero” in the book. He received great support from union leadership and many shop leaders both from salary and wage. In the book, there is a chapter about the John Deere Ottumwa Works. Ottumwa was the birthplace of this leadership style. Union leaders and workers from Ottumwa are given a lot of positive press in the book. Phil Keck and Bob McCall are mentioned as true leaders.
Some people recommending the book are James Kimball, Director, Economics and Contracts, International Brotherhood of Teamster; Cindy Estada, Vice President, International Union, UAW; and many of us who were able to work with Dick Klein at The John Deere Ottumwa Works and The John Deere Harvester Works from 1983-98.
The book is accurate, thorough and only misses on how rewarding it can be to work in an environment that is created by worker leadership. Ottumwa’s economy could be enhanced by showing potential employers that you live in a place where workers and managers can make a company successful. The people of Ottumwa will always be important to our family.