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Kansas City union chapter showing support for John Deere workers in Iowa

The Kansas City UAW Local 31 says it plans to return the favor to John Deere workers in Iowa, who brought supplies during UAW 31's 2019 strike.
Credit: WOI-TV

ANKENY, Iowa — As union workers continue to picket outside John Deere facilities across multiple states, donations are pouring in to keep those on the picket lines well fed. 

One of those donations will come from UAW Local 31 in Kansas City. 

"One thing we pride ourselves on here is we try to stick together whether we got good times or bad times," said Local 31 President Clarence Brown. 

Brown says providing donations to UAW workers at John Deere is a full-circle moment. In 2019, his branch was on a strike when John Deere workers brought donations to his members out on the picket lines.

"The outpouring of support that we had here in Kansas City almost sent chills down me," Brown said. "We never left the picket line. So we had to have things to feed our people. Strike pay doesn't pay enough to take care of you. So we stood the test of time."

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Brown says even if the John Deere workers hadn't come to help his members back in 2019, coming to their aid now is still what union members should do for others in need. 

"They believe in what they're asking for, because if they didn't, they wouldn't be out on the street," Brown told Local 5. "I just want to say to those people, 'We're going to stick with you, we're going to support you all the way down the line. If you believe in what you believe in hold the line and we're gonna hold it with you'."

UAW Local 31 is holding a meeting Saturday morning where members are encouraged to bring all their donations for the John Deere workers. Later that day, those donations will make their way to Iowa.

Closer to home, Champion Bowl in Ottumwa is offering all UAW members a free hour of bowling Friday and Saturday night. Owner Mark Frymoyer is a former union worker himself and wants to support the workers during this stressful time.

"I just wanted to give them a chance to relax and come out and have a good time and not have to worry about things," Frymoyer said.

He also said John Deere employees bring a lot of business to shops around Ottumwa, so when they aren't working it affects the entire community.

Watch complete coverage of the John Deere-UAW Local 74 strike on YouTube

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