Deere employees in the Quad Cities. (WVIK photo)

The John Deere plant in Ottumwa sat quiet and the parking lot was empty as its workers went on strike early this morning, and about a hundred people began picketing outside of the company’s gates.

Some motorists stopped to give food and water to the workers while several more honked their horns as they passed by to show their support for the striking employees. Trucks entered and left the factory throughout the morning.

A cheer rose from the picket line as a truck did not enter the facility. A worker who did not want to be identified explained.
“You see, there’s been truckers driving by being in solidarity with us and not crossing our picket line,” said the worker. “Some of them are. Some of them aren’t. We’re cheering them on and booing the ones that do.”

In a statement, Brad Morris, Vice President of Labor Relations for Deere and Company says Deere is “determined to reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers 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.”

The statement from John Deere concluded by saying the timetable of the two sides coming to an agreement is unknown.

(By Ellis Codjoe, KBIZ, Ottumwa)