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Business & Economics

South Dakota farm official says John Deere strike was 'a long time coming'

John Deere tractor

The president of the South Dakota’s Farmers Union said the John Deere worker strike is part of a larger problem.

Doug Sombke

“You know, we've had supply problems prior to anything like this. But at the same time, companies like John Deere have been making record profits," said Doug Sombke. "I understand the concerns about supply and everything, but the fact of the matter is, this has been a long time coming. And this shortness of supply isn't just from things like this strike. We've put these tariffs in place that have hurt us a lot, too.”

Thousands of John Deere workers went on strike last week. It started after the United Auto Workers union couldn’t reach an agreement with management on issues like wages and health care.

Sombke thinks the strike could affect a farmer’s ability to get replacement parts and new equipment, especially in rural areas.

The walkout affects 14 plants across the country including Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.

In response to the strike, John Deere issued a statement on its website that says, in part, "John Deere is committed to a favorable outcome for everyone involved. John Deere is determined to reach an agreement with the UAW that would put every employee in a better economic position and continue to make them the highest paid employees in the agriculture and construction industries."