John Deere, in collaboration with the UAW, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, has joined a number of organizations and companies across the country to produce protective face shields for health-care workers in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Employees started production on Wednesday, April 8, at the John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, Illinois. The factory manufactures planting equipment and precision ag solutions for a global customer base.
Deere expects to produce 25,000 face shields in the initial stages of production and has ordered materials and supplies to produce an additional 200,000 face shields.
The first 25,000 protective face shields will be delivered to 16 U.S. Deere factories in eight states as well as the company’s U.S. Deere-Hitachi factory for local distribution. The initial run will help meet the immediate needs of health-care workers in those communities.
“Our manufacturing and supply management teams, along with our production and maintenance employees, the UAW, and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure we could lend our support and protect our health-care workers during this crisis,” said John May, Chief Executive Officer, Deere & Company. “By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support the needs we’ve identified close to home and, as the project expands, address additional, urgent needs across the country.”
John Deere Seeding Group employees are supporting the special project and are utilizing extensive and robust safety measures adopted across the company to safeguard employees.
“This is a very proud day for the UAW and our UAW members,” said Rory L. Gamble, UAW President. “I want to recognize the hard work that Secretary-Treasurer and Agriculture Implement Department Director Ray Curry and Region 4 Director Ron McInroy contributed to this effort. This included working to put the necessary health and safety provisions in place for our members to begin manufacturing critically-needed face shields for the health-care workers who are on the front lines of this crisis saving lives. We are especially proud of the courageous UAW members who are stepping up to do this critical work.”
The production of protective face shields is one of many initiatives the company and its employees have executed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Efforts in the U.S. have included the following:
- PPE donations to health care facilities
- 2:1 employee match program encouraging donations to local food banks and the American Red Cross
- Production of approximately 18,000 protective face shields for use by factory employees
- Employee volunteerism efforts to sew cloth masks for community members along with a match from the John Deere Foundation for the time invested in this volunteer activity
- Launch of a COVID-19 innovations site to share open-source specifications for related projects, including 3D-printed clips to affix face shields to protective bump caps