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Deere union worker on contract talks: 'We're fed up,' plans to remain on picket line

The worker says work morale at John Deere has been worse over the last few months.

EAST MOLINE, Ill. — A John Deere union worker tells News 8, they will be out on the picket line as long as it takes to reach a fair contract.

RELATED: UAW members go on strike after not agreeing to contract with John Deere

The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said work morale has been worse over the last few months.

The employee said he and coworkers will be out until a fair deal has been reached.

"I haven't seen anything change out there, I've only seen it get worse," he said.

He has worked for John Deere the last 12 years. 

"Deere needs to pay us to what we're entitled to," he said.

He handles the parts at one of the John Deere distribution centers.

"We've worked hard and many, many hours, and been away from our families for so long. We deserve to be paid a fair livable wage," he said. 

He said, wages, pension and health care benefits are main sticking points in the contract.

RELATED: John Deere union workers vote down new contract

"Something that's equitable, that all people in the local can be happy with," he said.

After the roughly 90% vote against the contract Sunday, Oct. 10, he said that shows how workers feel.

"With such a percentage that's unhappy right now, it's going to be a hard task," he said.

He said he feels that task should stay at hand until there is a fair agreement.

"I want the negotiations to keep going but I also believe we need to be striking to at the same time," he said.

News 8 asked the union member what message a strike sends to John Deere.

"It sends to Deere that we're fed up," he said.   

The union worker said they will be out in large numbers on the picket line as long as it's needed.

The tentative agreement affects about 10,000 union workers in five states and 11 cities.

Early Thursday morning at John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, a protective barricade around the building was set up as workers on strike began to form picketing lines.

Deere & Company released a statement Thursday morning on the UAW decision to strike.

"John Deere is committed to a favorable outcome for our employees, our communities, and everyone involved," said Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company. "We are determined to reach an agreement with the UAW 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. We will keep working day and night to understand our employees' priorities and resolve this strike, while also keeping our operations running for the benefit of all those we serve."

The company said it does not currently have an estimate of when employees affected by the strike will resume working or the timing for completion of negotiations with the UAW.

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