MOLINE, Ill. (AP) -- Deere & Co. and the United Auto Workers union have begun negotiations on a new contract covering about 9,500 employees -- or roughly 17 percent of Deere's work force -- at 15 of the company's facilities across the country.
The world's largest maker of farm equipment and the UAW said in a joint statement they have agreed not to comment publicly on contract issues during the talks.
The current contract went into effect Oct. 1, 2003 and expires at midnight Sept. 30. It covers about 17 percent of the 56,653 people employed by Deere at the end of 2008.
"Our goal is an agreement that benefits our members, Deere & Company, and the communities where we work and live," UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a statement. Settles directs the union's Agricultural Implement Department.
Deere plants represented by the agreement include the following plants in Illinois: John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline; John Deere Seeding Group/Cylinder Division in Moline, and John Deere North American Parts Distribution Center in Milan.
In Iowa, they include John Deere Davenport Works; John Deere Des Moines Works; John Deere Dubuque Works; John Deere Ottumwa Works; John Deere Waterloo Works; John Deere Engine Works in Waterloo; John Deere Waterloo Tractor, Cab Assembly Operations; John Deere Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, and John Deere Foundry in Waterloo.
Other facilities affected by the agreement include parts depots in Atlanta and Denver and the John Deere Coffeyville Works in Kansas.
Shares of Deere rose $1.02, or 2.2 percent, to $46.35 in afternoon trading.