“Effective 12:00am Local 281 is on strike.” That was the announcement made on UAW Local 281‘s Facebook page right before midnight Wednesday.
Tensions rose on both sides as the clocked ticked down to zero hour, the Quad Cities facing what would be the first strike at John Deere in 35 years, with thousands of workers ready to walk off the job.
UAW members had previously rejected a contract agreement with Deere & Company, setting the stage for a strike beginning at midnight going into Thursday. The agreement would have covered more than 10,000 workers at 14 facilities, including several here in the QCA.
“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” Chuck Browning, Vice President and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department, said. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.” See what other UAW leaders had to say here.
In a press release, Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company, said Thursday the company is remaining optimistic.
“John Deere is committed to a favorable outcome for our employees, our communities, and everyone involved,” Morris said. “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.”
Deere & Company does not have an estimate of when employees on strike will resume activities or the timing for completion of negotiations with the UAW.