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Year in review: COVID lingered and weighed on quad cities’ economy | Business & Economy

And in the face of uncertainty, workers continue to rethink their jobs. The year was marked by a national labor shortage and businesses in Quad-City struggled to staff their stores and restaurants enough to stay open.

Rising COVID-19 cases have been one of the biggest culprits in causing the job divide. According to analysts, people are reluctant to return to work for health reasons as the highly contagious variant spreads. Many are also concerned about childcare as schools reopen with a high level of unpredictability due to the virus. Despite fewer COVID restrictions in 2021, discharge rates in the Midwest were higher than in 2020, increasing by about 100,000.

In a tight labor market, workers have been empowered to quit their jobs and demand higher benefits and wages. Headquartered in the Quad-Cities, John Deere was the center of one of the biggest strikes of the year, making it a milestone for the 2021 strike wave as a string of union victories pushed others to unionize and go on strike.

More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers in factories in Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas picketed October 13 to fight for higher wages and benefits. It took five weeks to sign a contract and get them back to work, but in the end the union workers had higher wage increases throughout the contract period and all workers received pensions, creating a staggered one. it abolished the system proposed in an earlier treaty.

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