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Negotiations fall through; UAW strikes at John Deere facilities

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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Negotiations have broken down between Deere & Co. and the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Workers (UAW), leading union workers to strike at midnight across all locations Thursday.

“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, Vice President and Director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.”

Deere and the company responded to the strike in a press release.

“John Deere is committed to a favorable outcome for our employees, our communities, and everyone involved,” said Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company. “We are determined to reach an agreement with the UAW that would put every employee in a better economic position and continue to make them the highest paid employees in the agriculture and construction industries. We will keep working day and night to understand our employees’ priorities and resolve this strike, while also keeping our operations running for the benefit of all those we serve.”

John Deere officials do not currently know when workers affected by the strike will resume activity or the timing of new negotiations.

In a statement Thursday morning, The company says it has activated the Customer Service Continuation (CSC) Plan. That means employees and others will enter the facilities to keep operations running.

“Our immediate concern is meeting the needs of our customers, who work in time-sensitive and critical industries such as agriculture and construction. By supporting our customers, the CSC Plan also protects the livelihoods of others who rely on us, including employees, dealers, suppliers, and communities.”

On Oct. 1, a six-year contract for more than 10,000 employees was set to end but Deere and the union reached a tentative agreement.

“After six weeks of negotiations, John Deere and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement that honors the enormous contributions of John Deere’s production and maintenance employees and builds a strong foundation for our shared success in the future,” Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company, said at the time. “Through this agreement, John Deere reinforces our longstanding commitment to provide employees the opportunities to earn the best wages and most comprehensive benefits in the agriculture and construction industries.”

However, the union Sunday overwhelmingly voted against the agreement. Some union members told TV6 that they voted no because of the proposed wage increases, which they felt wasn’t enough considering the company’s growth.

They also expressed concern over retirement benefits.

According to UAW 281 in Davenport, the bargaining committee was recalled to Moline Monday and a strike deadline was set for 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

The last strike was in 1986 and lasted 163 days.

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