Union strike hits close to home for business owners on both sides of river

Local News

It’s been nearly a week since UAW members first bundled up for a strike against John Deere, which came after the union rejected a proposed new contract that did include a wage hike.

The Quad Cities is just one of many areas across the country to go on strike, sending more than 10,000 workers to the picket lines, demanding more pay and better benefits.

Family members like Angel Richmond, who started a GoFundMe page to help feed overnight striking workers, are speaking out.

“This is a Fortune 500 company,” said Richmond. “Why are we under the poverty level?”

John Deere says it will keep operations running while trying to reach a resolution with the union.

Meanwhile, the workers on strike are getting a lot of support from local businesses.

The list is growing of businesses voicing their support for the workers on both sides of the river.

For Bobby Fields, owner of Fields of Pizza and Fields Bar in East Moline, the workers of John Deere have a personal connection.

“Well, my dad put in 30 years and retired from there,” said Fields. “My sister, she’s got about 13 years in.”

Fields is showing his support by opening the doors to his restaurant and bar to workers on strike.

“We’re giving chicken out for every hour that we’re open,” said Fields. “They can come up, (have) all-you-can-eat chicken. We’re buying the first Busch Light if they want to have a drink.”

In Davenport, Tania Rocha of Famous Dave’s BBQ, says the strikers at their establishment have their full support.

“Big supporters of everybody working, and also, John Deere is a great supporter of us,” said Rocha. “We do a lot of business with them. We do a lot of catering with them, and we want to make sure they know we’re still here for them no matter what.”

Rocha adds the work of being outside on strike should be met with a comfortable meal.

“We’re gonna try to feed them a little bit; give them a little meal here while they’re outside,” said Rocha. “If it’s cold or raining, we’re going to try to give them a couple meals here and there.”

Fields notes the workers of John Deere should be compensated rightfully for the work they do.

“It means a lot,” said Fields. “You want quality work, give them what they deserve.”

John Deere is expecting to report record profits this year between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion dollars.

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