Strike at John Deere ends as UAW members approve contract offer
The United Auto Workers union announced Wednesday that 61% of members at Deere voted in favor of what the company has described as its last and best offer.
Both proposals, the one rejected in the November 2 vote and the one accepted on Wednesday, have significant benefits for union members. Both include a 10% instant boost, an $8,500 signing bonus, an additional 5% increase in the third and fifth years of the proposed six-year agreement, and additional one-time payments. 3% of salary in the second, fourth and sixth years. In addition, it restored the adjustment in the cost of living to protect workers from rising consumer prices. Such provisions were once common in union contracts but have become relatively rare in recent years.
The union said the offer that was the subject of this week’s vote contained “modest amendments” to the tentative deal rejected earlier.
The company will notify strikers when they are expected to return to work. The vote and agreement were praised by both the UAW and Deere leadership.
Chief executive officer John May said: “I am delighted that our highly skilled employees are back to work. “John Deere’s success depends on the success of our employees. Through our new collective bargaining agreements, we are offering employees the opportunity to earn wages and benefits. the best in our industry and groundbreaking in many ways.”
“Our members’ courageous willingness to go on strike for a better standard of living and a safer retirement led to a groundbreaking contract and set a new standard for workers not only within the UAW but nationally,” said UAW Vice President Chuck Browning, who heads the union’s unit that deals with Deere.
But despite improved pay and benefits, many union members appear to have voted no on all three ballots. They believe Deere, which has reported record profits in recent quarters amid strong demand for their farm and construction equipment, can afford to give more, especially is after previous contracts that workers have made concessions to the company.