(Reuters) - An Iowa judge has granted Deere & Co, the world's largest farm equipment maker, a temporary injunction against striking union members who trespass on the company's Davenport Works facility or block its entrance and exits.
The union workers' activities were "unwarranted, impermissible and unlawful," Marlita Grave, Chief District Judge of Iowa's Seventh Judicial District wrote in a Wednesday order.
While the injunction does not entirely forbid the strike, the judge limited the number of picketers to no more than four at each gate of the facility.
When asked for a comment, Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the UAW union that represents the workers, said the union does not discuss ongoing legal matters.
Deere in a statement said the injunction was put in place to provide safe entry and exit to the facility.
"Deere & Company was granted (the order) to maintain a safe environment for all our employees and contractors – including those reporting to work and those exercising their right to strike," the company said in a statement.
The ruling is the latest step in a fight over pay, benefits and better working conditions, with Deere employees joining thousands of other U.S. workers who have gone on strike in recent months.
It also comes in the middle of the U.S. corn and soybean harvest season, at a time when farmers are struggling to find parts for tractors and combines.
Earlier this month, Deere and the UAW reached a six-year collective bargaining agreement after weeks of negotiation on wages and other benefits, but 90% of the union's workers voted against the deal.
(Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by David Gregorio)