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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Recession, Layoffs Hit John Deere

As Posted at the Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — Deere & Company announced Tuesday that 40 employees at the John Deere Ottumwa Works will be laid off.

The layoffs will impact production workers with the least seniority and are effective April 20.

“It is all about attempting to manage the cost of the business and we are committed to producing the number of products the market place is demanding,” said Ken Golden, company spokesman based in Moline, Ill.

The reduction comes because of “reduced market conditions for the factory’s products,” the company said in a news release.

Employees at the factory were told of the indefinite layoffs Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re not in a position to determine whether or not more layoffs at any plant are going to be made or whether or not conditions improve and we call people back,” Golden said. “We are hopeful that conditions improve.”

John Deere Ottumwa Works produces balers, mower conditions, windrowers and harvesters used by hay and livestock producers. There are about 1,000 total employees, 730 of them are production workers, Golden said.

Last month the company said the Ottumwa plant could be shut down for up to 10 weeks this summer. The plant shuts down for at least two weeks during the summer, but the shutdown often gets extended based on inventory adjustments.

The company shuts plants temporarily based on market demand for the products they produce. Golden said extended summer shut down is typical at the Ottumwa plant because they produce a seasonal product.

The amount of time the Ottumwa plant will be closed this summer has not been determined and will not be effected by the layoffs, Golden said. He does not know when that will be decided.

Deere & Company announced 325 layoffs last month in the construction and forestry division, which includes plants in Dubuque and Davenport.