John Deere workers, including in Colorado, are preparing for a strike

MOLINE, Illinois (AP) – More than 10,000 John Deere workers, including in Colorado, appear ready to strike if negotiators fail to reach a new agreement by the end of Wednesday.

The United Automobile Workers’ Union said its members would leave the job if no deal was reached by 11:59 p.m. and 6% increases to others.

Thirty-five years have passed since the last major strike by Deere & Co., but workers have dared to demand more this year after working long throughout the pandemic and because companies are facing a shortage of workers.

Chris Laursen, who works as an artist at Deere, told Des Moines Register that he believes the strike is inevitable and could make a significant difference.

“The whole nation will be watching us,” Laursen told the newspaper. “If we take a position here for ourselves, for our families, for basic human prosperity, it will be important for the entire manufacturing industry. Let’s do this. Let’s not be afraid. “

Earlier this year, another group of UAW representatives went on strike at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia and ended up with better pay and lower health costs after rejecting three preliminary contract offers.

The contracts being negotiated cover 14 Deere plants in the United States, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one each in Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.

Negotiations on the contract at Moline, Illinois, are developing as Deere expects record profits of between $ 5.7 billion and $ 5.9 billion this year. The company reports strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment this year.

Deere’s manufacturing companies are making an important contribution to the economy, so local authorities hope that any strike will be short-lived.

“We definitely want to see our economy stabilize and grow after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati told the Quad-Cities Times. “Let’s hope these countries reach a solution soon.”

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