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John Deere strike enters day 5, many details still unknown

Picketers were lined up Monday morning, Oct. 18 at the John Deere Cylinder Works facility in Moline, making it difficult for some Deere employees to get into work.

MOLINE, Ill. — The United Auto Workers union called a strike against Deere & Company Thursday, Oct. 14. The decision affected more than 10,000 union workers at 14 facilities across the U.S.

As the union members reached day five of their strike, there was still little clarity about long it would last.

Picketers were lined up Monday morning, Oct. 18 at the John Deere Cylinder Works facility in Moline, making it difficult for some Deere employees to get into work. As of 6:30 a.m., the line of cars trying to enter the building reached the end of the street.

Last week, UAW leaders said they were unsure on when contract talks would start again. In a statement released Friday, Deere & Company said it had no timeline on the next steps of the negotiation process. 

As of Monday, a union worker told WQAD that the International UAW union would meet 9 a.m. Monday morning with John Deere, though the location or duration of the discussion was unknown.

Pete Norlander, a labor relations professor at Loyola University in Chicago, said local communities may be affected if the strike goes too long.

The strike is a risky situation for both sides, Norlander said, with Deere being one of the largest employers in the Quad Cities region. 

According to one UAW member, post-retirement health care and a pension plans were leading factors in the strike. Post-retirement health care was not offered to all John Deere employees in the proposed contract rejected by 90% of union workers Sunday, Oct. 10.  

Find WQAD's full coverage of the John Deere contract negotiations here.

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