John Deere farmers and suppliers worry about strike impact in Colorado and other states

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WATERLOO, Iowa – Farmers and suppliers to Deere & Co. are worried about what the strike at the tractor-maker’s factories will mean for their livelihoods.

More than 10,000 Deere employees went on strike last week in 14 Deere factories in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia after the United Auto Workers union rejected a contract offer. The longer the strike continues, the greater the impact will be on the communities around the factories.

“If this settles in a few days, so much the better,” Brian Jones, who operates a farm in central Iowa, told the Des Moines Register. “But if this goes on for weeks, you start to worry a bit about things.”

Lance Lillibridge, who operates a farm in eastern Iowa near Cedar Rapids, said he was concerned he would run out of parts if his John Deere combine failed.

“We have a lot of big equipment here that we use to harvest, and if one part fails that we can’t get, we’re done,” said Lillibridge, who is also president of Iowa. Council of the Association of Corn Producers.

John Deere Dubuque Works employee Steve Thor picks up outside UAW Local 94 in Dubuque, Iowa on Thursday, October 14, 2021. More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers went on strike Thursday, the first big walkout against the giant of agricultural machinery in more than three decades. (Jessica Reilly / Telegraph Herald via AP)

Burk “Skeet” Miehe of American Pattern & CNC Works in Cedar Falls, Iowa, said her business was doing well initially because she was working ahead to fulfill orders from Deere.

“If it lasts longer, it could affect us,” Miehe told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

Casting Cleaning Inc. in Cedar Falls, which does chipping and grinding of foundry castings for John Deere, was closed on Friday due to lack of work, but company president Shannon Closson said that it should reopen on Monday.

“In the long run, (the strike) would be very damaging to our business. In the short term, we’ll be able to pick up some power and get through it, ”said Closson.

At John Deere Sloan Implement equipment dealership in Fulton, Ill., Store manager Eric Maloney said the company was doing its best to handle the strike, as well as the supply chain issues associated with it. the coronavirus pandemic. The dealership relied more than usual on repairing parts instead of replacing them.

“We will continue to move forward as best we can,” said Maloney.

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