“John Deere’s plan to bring new product programs to our Waterloo, Iowa, facilities requires consolidation of cab production from Tractor and Cab Assembly Operations (TCAO) to Ramos Component Works in Mexico. The decision to relocate cab production ensures the company can balance labor needs in a tight labor market and also ensures that Waterloo can free up production space for new products,” a company spokesman said.
UAW Local 838 President Tim Frickson says he was notified Wednesday morning by the shop committee at the TCAO facility of the decision. Frickson clarified that he has not yet discussed the plan to move production with Deere & Company management at this time.
Frickson said it is his understanding that there are no planned layoffs at the Waterloo plant, which employs more than 1,000 workers, and the company may be planning to begin upgrades and new construction of shops at the Waterloo site.
“We don’t want jobs to leave the Waterloo area, we don’t want jobs to leave the United States,” Frickson said.
Deere & Company itself said the following: “The number of employees affected will depend on where the business is in terms of production volumes, employee layoffs over the next two years and the needs of the new product program.”
An employee who wished to remain anonymous who works in the cab department at the TCAO facility said all employees were told at a 7:15 a.m. meeting Wednesday that Deere would move cab and welding lines to Mexico by 2024 to make room for a new assembly. The employee wished to remain anonymous.
John Deere confirmed that the move is expected to be completed during fiscal year 2024.
A union activist, who also asked to remain anonymous, said, “Most likely, amid high inflation and falling real wages, and possible union strikes like the ones in 2021 or the CNH spring, management has decided to reduce the threat of strikes and optimize wage costs because workers in Mexico earn less than workers in the United States in the same position.
- this article expresses the opinions of sources who wished to remain anonymous.