The Ottumwa Courier

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May 28, 2009

Employees say another round of John Deere layoffs coming

OTTUMWA — John Deere’s Ottumwa plant could be facing another round of layoffs.

Multiple employees have told The Courier that this round involves all employees with less than 10 years of experience. They say that means approximately 500 of the plant’s 1,000 employees face at least the temporary loss of their jobs.

Ken Golden, John Deere’s director of public relations, did not directly contradict the employees’ statements. But neither did he confirm them in an e-mail statement to The Courier:

“As we have stated in the past, the John Deere Ottumwa Works could be shut down for up to 10 weeks this summer. We have said that the plant shuts down for at least two weeks each summer, but the shutdown often gets extended based on inventory adjustments. We have not made an announcement to our employees yet concerning our plans. By policy, we will not respond to rumors.”

The employees, who were granted anonymity after expressing concerns about possible retaliation by the company, took issue with Golden’s assertion that Deere has made no specific announcement to employees. They say the company told them of the planned layoffs.

Deere has experienced multiple rounds of layoffs in Iowa over the past several months. Ottumwa was involved in one round announced at the end of March. That set of layoffs involved 40 local employees.

The Courier is continuing to follow this developing story.

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