‘It’s Greed’: Outrage Grows as Historic U.S. Company Cuts Midwest Jobs Moves Positions to Mexico

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 30, 2024

It’s a tough season for over 1,000 workers at John Deere, as they face layoffs or early retirement. Plants in Iowa and Illinois feel the sting the most, with the company moving much of its agricultural equipment production to Mexico. 

This shift has sparked a wave of concern and frustration among employees and their local communities.

Outrage as John Deere Shifts Jobs to Mexico

John Deere, a staple in American industry for 187 years, has decided to relocate jobs to Mexico, disappointing and frustrating many of its workers. 

A large John Deere company logo on a wall, featuring the iconic leaping deer, surrounded by lush green bushes under a clear blue sky

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Harvester Works plant employee captured the mood perfectly, telling The Guardian, “It’s greed.”


Despite Huge Profits, John Deere Cuts Jobs

In a stark contrast, John Deere, after earning over $10 billion in 2023, is reducing its workforce. 

A man operating a small green John Deere tractor, towing a red agricultural implement through a grassy field

Source: Wikimedia Commons

CEO John May’s whopping compensation of $26.7 million last year further fuels the disparity. The company hints that even more layoffs could be on the horizon.

Uncertainty Reigns Among John Deere Employees

Job security is a daily worry for many at John Deere, with rumors of more layoffs swirling. 

A green John Deere combine harvester on display at an indoor exhibition, surrounded by attendees and other agricultural machinery

Source: JohnDeere/X

“We get wind of more layoffs daily, it seems, and it’s causing uncertainty all over,” one employee said anonymously, highlighting the widespread anxiety.

John Deere’s Evolution from Plows to Global Powerhouse

From its humble beginnings making innovative steel plows, John Deere has grown into a global giant with 109 factories worldwide. 

A green John Deere tractor with a front loader and a baler attached at the back, working in a grassy field, surrounded by trees

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Yet, this expansion and shift of jobs abroad have left many questioning the company’s commitment to its American roots.

Job Cuts Shake Midwest Communities

John Deere is often the largest employer in several small Midwest towns, making its recent layoffs a heavy blow.

A scenic view of a rural road at sunset, with a vibrant orange sky in the background and sparse winter vegetation on the sides

Source: Ryan De Hamer/Unsplash

These communities are feeling the economic and social effects deeply, with every job loss rippling through families and local businesses.


Waterloo’s Mayor Addresses the Layoffs

Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart talked to DailyMail.com about the impact of the layoffs, noting, “Any time you have a major employer initiate layoffs, it’s a challenge for the local community.” 

"A smiling African American man in a suit speaks passionately into a microphone at a community event, standing behind a podium with a sign about growing business opportunities

Source: QuentinHartIA/X

His words illustrate the deep roots and dependence the town has on John Deere.


A Union Leader's Appeal to John Deere

Tim Cummings, a union leader, is calling on John Deere to rethink its outsourcing strategy. 

A vintage John Deere 430 tractor in green and yellow, showcased in an open field under clear blue skies

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He told KWWL, “I urge John Deere to stop outsourcing and bring these products back to our factories and allow our talented workforce to produce these products at home where they are used by North American farmers and businesses.”


Facing Uncertainty, Ottumwa Workers Choose Early Retirement

In Ottumwa, Iowa, the looming threat of job cuts prompted 103 workers to opt for early retirement this February. 

Elevated view of a small American town with historic buildings, streets intersecting at traffic lights

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Losing John Deere would be an extremely big loss,” Chris Laursen said.


John Deere Points to Rising Costs for Job Shifts

John Deere defends its decision to relocate jobs to Mexico by citing escalating manufacturing costs. 

A close-up of a John Deere vehicle's back

Source: JohnDeere/X

This strategy is meant to keep the company competitive globally, yet it’s met with skepticism and worry about the future of manufacturing in local communities.


Dubuque Faces Anxiety Over Future Layoffs

The city of Dubuque is bracing for potential major changes as John Deere considers further relocations of production to Mexico.

A panoramic view of Dubuque, Iowa, showing a mix of modern and historic buildings set against a backdrop of autumn-colored trees and a clear sky

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Danny Sprank from the City Council shared his concerns, stressing the critical role John Deere plays in the local economy and the community’s regard for the company.


The Wider Effects of John Deere's Restructuring

John Deere’s decisions to cut jobs and move production are not isolated incidents but part of a larger trend impacting American industrial employment.

Close-up view of a John Deere machine part with the company's logo in bold yellow letters on a green background

Source: JohnDeere/X

These shifts pose significant challenges for communities, often leaving them to face tough economic adjustments and limited job opportunities.