About 120 employees at John Deere Harvester Works will be laid off in a move to match production levels at the East Moline plant to an anticipated decline in the large farm equipment market.

The employees — all production workers — will be placed on indefinite layoff effective March 31, Moline-based Deere & Co. said Thursday in a news release.

According to Deere spokesman Ken Golden, affected employees were informed of the layoffs during meetings Thursday before the news was shared with the plant's entire workforce. 

"It's never, ever easy to have a layoff, but it's necessary to remain competitive," he said. "We have over a long period of time said the size of our workforce in any particular factory will be matched to market demand for that product in that particular factory."

Harvester Works is the company's largest combine plant, employing nearly 2,800 people. About 2,000 are in production jobs. Deere said the layoffs will be based on seniority.

The announcement came a day after Deere reported record first-quarter earnings and indicated a slowdown ahead in the farm equipment industry.

Golden said the layoffs are "a direct result of what we said three months ago and yesterday (in the earnings release) — we believe the farm industry in the U.S. and Canada will be down 5 to 10 percent."

In its earnings report, Deere said it expects a decline in 2014 farm incomes. Although incomes will remain at healthy levels, the company said the deline could have a "dampening effect on demand, especially for larger models of equipment" off the record levels Deere achieved in 2013.

Deere said the layoffs only affect workers at the East Moline plant. Golden declined to speculate whether any of Deere's other ag equipment plants could face similiar layoffs.  

In a prepared statement, Steve Doye, president of United Auto Workers Local 865, which represents Harvester Works, said the union has heard from a number of community organizations willing to assist those being laid off. "We would like to express gratitude to those in Harvester Works management who chose to provide affected members as much notice as possible," the statement said. 

To the affected workers, Doye pledged the union's support. "Many of us have faced the same uncertain future in years gone by and understand how difficult this is for you and your loved ones. We'll support you in any way that we can. We have you and your families in our thoughts."

The last major layoff at Harvester Works was in September 2009, when 367 workers were put on indefinite layoff. Most were called back within five months.

In the past few years, Deere has hired hundreds of employees at its Quad-City plants, including 450 at Harvester Works, Golden said. "We went through three record years and those were driven by ag equipment sales, and especially large equipment like combines, so as we see that market is becoming softer, we have to adjust."

(11) comments

longjohn412

We're going to celebrate our Recording Breaking Quarter by driving 120 of our faithful employees (and their families) below the Poverty Line ....... and increasing the Food Stamp rolls by another 120 ....

pta mom

Every quarter profits are up. Deere sacrifices its workers and decimates its home community to keep bulking up accounts of its executives.

Ag-Lender

This is business 101: When times were excellent (which happened to correlate with high grain prices) they hired more workers. When times are soft (which happens to correlate with low grain prices), they are lying off workers. Agriculture is cyclical as are the businesses that depend on it. It’s funny that liberals call a company greedy when it is making money and then also harps the same company when times slow down and they are forced to lay off workers.

White Shadow

Liberals called a company greedy? Where? Oh, you are assuming. Wise.

Ag-Lender

Okay - you got me. No one said "greedy" in THIS post. I was generalizing as many people who comment on this website with a liberal slant have demonized corporations making profits as "greedy."

longjohn412

They are Greedy and that is easily PROVEN ...

Since they skrewed over their Retired Employees claiming they "Can't afford" to give them the Benefits PROMISED to them decades ago, Deere has had 15 straight Profitable quarter with many of them breaking PROFIT RECORDS

OBVIOUSLY they could to afford to KEEP THEIR PROMISES to theirt Retired Employees

If THAT isn't Greedy then what the F--- is?

silentmajority

This comment is laughable. Deere announced the market was softening, and anticipated sales of large ag equipment would be down 5-10% for the remainder of the year. So when they adjust employment by roughly that amount at ONE plant, they are sacrificing their workers. These same workers who will for the most part have recall rights once the market picks back up.


As far as the comment about decimating its home community and bulking up the accounts of its executives, cite some proof please, as well as explain away the following facts:


1. Sam Allen (CEO) in 2012 was paid below the median of CEO pay in the Capital Goods sector as reported by Forbes.
2. A $58M capital improvement announced in Nov 2012 to the Seeding Division in Moline, which will allow jobs to remain in the QC.
3. A $100M capital improvement at the Waterloo operations to modernize and keep those facilities viable, retaining jobs.
4. An $85M capital improvement in Des Moines, accomplishing the same thing.
5. All but giving away valuable river front property to allow the iWireless Center and the Radisson to be built in downtown Moline.
6. Same thing regarding river front property to allow a state university campus (Western ILL) to be built in the QC.


Yep, sure sounds to me like Deere is decimating its home communities. Sheeshh.

White Shadow

Well put.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Farm equipment is always a cyclical business. Reagan is still getting blamed for the downturn that actually started in the previous administration. I was at IH during that time and I watched that plant get cut in half, starting BEFORE Reagan was elected. My brother lost his job in 79 and never got called back. Tax laws and all kinds of things impact the business. Weather cycles and equipment that lasts several times longer than it did in the old days has also factored in.

White Shadow

Olenunber7, when Bush & Obama (& Congress) signed and extended the stimulus acts ('08, '09, '10, '12), all of which Section 179 was included ("look it up and read about it") I'm sure you were giving Obama pats on the back then. Funny, I seem to recall the right being up in arms about the stimulus acts. Irony indeed, & hypocritical.

olenumber7

This is a big deal. Obama has the let the Section 179 Tax write off drop to $25,000 and every provider of capital equipment to businesses in the US knows this is what is coming. Look it up and read about it and write and or call you Reps and senators. Stabilizing of commodity prices is only part of this. The failure of Washington to make 179 permanent and back at a level high enough to matter is what this is all about. Ironic that most folks impacted by the layoff voted for Obama as they are Union members. You can't right that wrong but you can write/call/email all US Reps and Senators today!

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