EAST MOLINE, Ill. — Dozens of UAW John Deere employees walked almost 6 miles Tuesday afternoon along the Mississippi River in solidarity with strikers.
Tuesday, October 26 marked 12 days since the strike began.
The walking bunch left from Beacon Harbor in East Moline and finished at John Deere Seeding Group in Moline.
The group originally started with under 10 walkers. As more strikers joined along the path, stopping at The Bend and Ben Butterworth's park, the group ended with almost 200 strikers and supporters.
Service Employees International Union, Local 73 members traveled from Chicago to support the effort.
“We heard that the workers here at the John Deere plant were striking, and we thought it was our obligation to come down and be supportive of them," said Jeffrey Howard, SEIU Local 73 executive vice-president. "Because an injustice to one worker anywhere is an injustice to workers everywhere."
The Chicago group recently ended a strike of their own lasting 18 days. They said they wanted to show support through their experience.
“We know how difficult strikes are. We know how important the community support was as well as the support of our fellow brothers and sisters and other unions," said Howard.
“It's a good feeling to have others come and support your work. What I say to the workers is 'one day longer is one day stronger,'" said Diane Palmer, SEIU Local 73 executive president.
Over 90% of the union employees rejected John Deere's contract offer on Oct. 10. Among top concerns were benefits, health care and post-retirement pensions.
There was no word as of Tuesday if UAW and John Deere have reached contract agreements.