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Court order skims down number of union picketers allowed at John Deere Davenport Works

The order from a Scott County judge indicates there's a limit to how many picketers can gather, and puts an end to the use of burn barrels.

MOLINE, Ill. — Editor's Note: Quad Cities community members rallied at Scott County Courthouse on Thursday, Oct. 21 in response to the injunction.

A district judge issued a temporary court order on behalf of John Deere to refine what union members taking part in the strike can and cannot do. This temporary injunction is aimed toward unions currently representing the workers on strike. 

On the seventh day of the strike, Wednesday, Oct. 20, Judge Marlita Greve with the Seventh Judicial District of Iowa signed off on an injunction that limited the number of picketers allowed at John Deere Davenport Works.

The court document states that the striking workers cannot trespass on John Deere property, intentionally get in the way of anyone coming in or out of the properties, nor can they gather near gate entrances in large numbers.

Greve's order specifies that only four picketers can be at John Deere gates, two on each side. Additionally, groups of picketers must have one designated person in charge who will moderate conduct and keep control of the gathering. 

Throughout the last week, union members on strike have been keeping warm by using burn barrels.  That is no longer allowed, according to the injunction.  The court order also prohibits the strikers from bringing chairs to the picket line.

Members of UAW's United Local 281 met shortly after the injunction was granted, to plan their next move. Speaking off camera, union employees told News 8 the focus now is to keep rotating the shifts of Davenports Works picketers, to allow those on the strike lines time to rest, grab a snack and use the restroom.  

Without access to burn barrels, several members have expressed concern over the safety of union workers on the picket lines overnight. 

"It's gonna get real cold out there at 2, 3 a.m.," said one member. "But our spirit isn't broken. We're gonna keep up the fight." 

RELATED: John Deere strike enters day 5, many details still unknown

Anyone found to be in violation could be found in contempt of court and could face jail time of up to six months and a fine of up to $500. 

These rules will remain in place until the union and Deere come to an agreement.  

In documents filed on Wed. morning, Deere claims union members at the Davenport Works location have trespassed and engaged in mass picketing, along with harassing and verbally and physically threatening customers and contractors attempting to enter and exit the facility. 

Part of the injunction reads, "(Union members) have screamed through megaphones and other audible enhancing devices, paraded in the public road up leading to Davenport Works with banners and signs." 

It goes on to claim, "(Picketers) have committed acts of verbal and physical harassment, intimidation, mass picketing and other direct and indirect forms of intimidating acts and threaten to continue these acts." 

Deere further states that the company has tried issuing cease and desist demands to the Union, as well as contacted law enforcement. The company says it would not file for injunction against peaceful picketers. 

"Deere has suffered and will continue to suffer substantial and irreparable injury," states the injunction documents. "The injuries to Deere outweigh the relative hardship to the Union and its members."

Read the full court order here

RELATED: Stay in the know with WQAD online

John Deere union members originally went on strike at midnight on Thursday, Oct. 14, after they failed to come to an agreement with John Deere on the contents of their contracts. 

The Sunday before the strike began, John Deere workers had the opportunity to vote for a revised version of their contract.  About 90% of the vote said no deal.

RELATED: John Deere union workers vote down new contract