Back in October, John Deere workers voted to go on strike. The whole thing hasn’t exactly gone smoothly, with temporary salaried workers brought in and one tragic death. But now, the strike is over, and John Deere’s 10,000 union employees have a new contract.
The Washington Post reports that after rejecting two previous proposals, the union approved the new six-year contract with 61 percent voting in its favor. From the sound of it, the union was able to negotiate significantly more favorable terms than were initially offered:
The first contract agreement reached between Deere and UAW negotiators, on Oct. 1, offered immediate raises of 5 to 6 percent, depending on the job, and an additional 3 percent in 2023 and 2025. It also proposed eliminating pensions for new hires. Workers rejected the offer by a wide margin.
The second agreement offered an immediate 10 percent raise and an $8,500 ratification bonus, plus 5 percent raises in 2023 and 2025. Deere workers rejected that one, too, but the vote was closer — 55 percent to 45 percent.
The latest contract made “modest modifications” to the second offer, the UAW said. Workers said those included tweaks to how Deere calculates bonuses for workers who meet production targets.
Considering these workers risked their lives working long hours to keep the company in business during a once-in-a-century pandemic, good for them! Hopefully, we’ll see more of this over the next year as workers get fed up with being expected to forego raises while their companies make record profits.
Deere’s chairman and CEO also released a statement, saying:
I’m pleased our highly skilled employees are back to work, building and supporting the industry-leading products which make our customers more profitable and sustainable.
John Deere’s success depends on the success of our people. Through our new collective bargaining agreements, we’re giving employees the opportunity to earn wages and benefits that are the best in our industries and are groundbreaking in many ways.