The ongoing labor dispute turned tragic this week when a striking employee was hit and killed by a vehicle. This is as John Deere employees continue to strike. The striking began on October 14 and involves roughly 10,000 employees. Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) were locked in ongoing negotiations for a new contract with John Deere for several months but were unable to come to an agreement.

The striking employee was killed while heading to the picket line

The man who was struck was identified as 56-year-old Richard Rich according to an ABC 7 news report. The incident occurred at about 6 a.m. near the John Deere Parts Distribution Center in Milan, Illinois.

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As Rich was attempting to cross a street and make his way to the picket line, he was struck by a motorist. When paramedics arrived, they declared Rich dead on the scene. Police do not believe the incident was in any way intentional, but the ABC story says the investigation remains investigation.

We don't believe it to be intentional, but it's still an ongoing investigation and it did happen out near the middle of the intersection where the pedestrian was crossing the roadway. -Police Chief Shawn Johnson

A John Deere spokeswoman said the company was saddened by the news and offered its deepest condolences to Rich's family and friends.

Photo by Julia Koblitz on Unsplash
Photo by Julia Koblitz on Unsplash

The strike is John Deere's first in over three decades. John Deere employees began striking in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, and Georgia after the UAW rejected a contract offer. The offer would have given employees a 5% or 6% pay raise.

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