Deere to lay off 600+ workers across three Midwest plants 

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More than 600 production workers at John Deere plants in East Moline, Davenport and in Dubuque, will be laid off effective Aug. 30, the Moline-based equipment maker confirmed Friday, June 28. 

In a news release, Deere said the impending layoffs were in response to market conditions. During employee meetings held at the plants on Friday, the company informed employees of these cuts at area production plants:

  • John Deere Harvester Works, East Moline, will have about 280 production employees impacted by the layoffs. 
  • John Deere Davenport Works, about 230 production employees.
  • John Deere Dubuque Works, about 100 production employees.

Deere indicated that the staffing level changes are being made due to reduced demand for the equipment these facilities produce.

The layoffs follow the manufacturer’s second quarter earnings report in mid-May, in which Deere said that industry sales are expected to further decline in the last half of its fiscal 2024 year.  In that report, Deere reported net income of $2.370 billion for the second quarter, ended April 28, compared with net income of $2.860 billion for the same quarter last year. 

“To better position Deere to meet future demand, we continue to take proactive steps to reduce production and inventory,” the company said in announcing the latest round of layoffs.

One of the Quad Cities region’s largest employers, Deere employs 9,700 workers in the bistate area and has 6,200 Quad Cities retirees, an economic and social impact report released by Deere last fall showed. According to the findings, Deere’s local workforce has a $9 billion annual impact on the local economy. In addition, the company and its suppliers’ collective output generates a total of $12.9 billion in local area economic activity. 

But with the nation’s economic situation and growing pressures on American farmers, Deere and the ag equipment industry have been battling a decline in demand for new equipment. 

The latest layoffs come just weeks after Deere submitted Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARN) with Iowa Workforce Development indicating layoffs at three other Iowa Deere plants: Waterloo, Ankeny and Urbandale. Those layoffs were expected to occur on Thursday, June 6. 

At the time, multiple Midwest news and agricultural media were reporting the salaried employees had received letters from John Deere warning of plans to lay off global production and management workforce in the next few months. The letter reportedly attributed that the cuts were being made in response to rising operational costs and declining product demand.

The WARN notices reported these layoffs in Iowa in early June: John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny, 16 layoffs; John Deere Intelligence Solutions, Urbandale, 58; and John Deere Waterloo Works, 49.  

In the release last Friday, Deere offered these employee counts:  

  • Harvester Works, which is the company’s largest combine manufacturing plant, currently has about 2,220 total employees. Of that, about 1,700 work in production and maintenance jobs. 
  • Davenport Works, which produces construction and forestry equipment for rough terrain, currently has about 1,390 total employees, of which, about 1,045 work in production and maintenance jobs.
  • Dubuque Works, which produces construction and forestry equipment, employs 2,700 total workers including about 1,430 production and maintenance employees.

According to the release, the laid-off employees are eligible to be recalled to their home factory for a period equal to their length of service. Those laid off are automatically placed in seniority order for factory openings they are qualified to perform.

In addition, the impacted employees will receive these monetary benefits:

  • Supplemental Unemployment (SUB) pay, which covers about 95% of their weekly net pay for up to 26 weeks, depending on their years of service.
  • Transitional Assistance (TAB) pay, which covers 50% of their average weekly earnings for up to 52 weeks, after SUB pay runs out.
  • Profit Sharing, which is calculated based on their hours worked, average earnings, and the company’s profit margin. To be eligible, employees must have at least one year of service by the end of the plan year.

Those laid off will be able to maintain their healthcare coverage for at least six months, or as long as they are eligible for SUB pay, whichever is longer, Deere said. After that, they can extend their coverage for another 12 months, but they have to pay the full premiums themselves.

Other benefits the workers may receive include: life insurance, legal assistance, tuition reimbursement and job-placement assistance. 

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