REACTION: Deere & Co. announces Waterloo layoffs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

REACTION: Deere & Co. announces Waterloo layoffs

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Deere and Company workers were told about the hundreds of layoffs during their shifts Friday.

We're told the decision on who got a pink slip all depended on one factor - seniority.

We don't know the cut-off date to decide who gets to stay.

Still, it's more rough news concerning the Cedar Valley's largest employer.

It's a Friday night with the family for Irene Randall at the Waterloo Black Hawks game.

Her work family at John Deere had a rough day.

"Pretty sad about everybody laid off because we had a lot of friends and union brothers and sisters there, too but I talked to a few people and they had pretty positive attitudes toward it and kinda being hopeful of jobs coming in the future," said Randall.

It's John Deere weekend for the Black Hawks - with the team wearing special jerseys.

News of the layoffs put a bit of a damper on the game.

"John Deere is a good place. Just heartbreaking to everybody," said Luann Benson.

"I did not see this coming at all. I actually thought we were done with layoffs from Deere," said Waterloo mayor Buck Clark.

Clark says he was caught off guard by the news.

He thinks the area may be able to absorb the job losses.

"If there's any kind of silver lining in this news, it's that in the Cedar Valley we have lots of manufacturing jobs and there appears to be opportunities to find these folks jobs in other areas," said Clark.

"It's a dark day. It's a dark time but there's a lot of fight left in us," said UAW Local 838 president Tom Ralston.

The UAW represents many of the affected workers.

Ralston says the union was surprised so many workers were laid off this time.

He says his members will get help.

"We're the backbone of this company. We're proud to work for Deere. We're proud because they pay good wages, they provide good benefits so we're focused on our members and getting them what they need and hopefully getting them back in the door," said Ralston.

Ralston is advising laid-off workers to start going over their options before their final day and hopes other companies take notice of those talented workers.

"Deere workers are some of the best workers around so if you do have openings, give these guys and gals a look because they'll be some of your best employees," said Ralston.

Ralston says the union will hold informational meetings soon to help workers go over their options.

The layoffs are staggered with some taking effect in February while others won't take effect until March.

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