Third time’s the charm. Late Wednesday night, John Deere and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) announced the employees approved the third negotiated agreement by a majority vote of 61 percent.
After a five week strike, John Deere-employed UAW members ratified the six-year contract, which includes an $8,500 signing bonus; 20 percent increase in wages over the lifetime of the contract with 10 percent this year; return of Cost of Living adjustments; three 3 percent lump sum payments; enhanced options for retirement and enhanced CIPP performance benefits. Healthcare remains the same for the life of the agreement.
UAW President Ray Curry said, “UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace. We could not be more proud of these UAW members and their families.”
“Our members courageous willingness to strike in order to attain a better standard of living and a more secure retirement resulted in a groundbreaking contract and sets a new standard for workers not only within the UAW but throughout the country,” said Chuck Browning, Vice President of the UAW and Director of the UAW Agricultural Implement department. “The sacrifice and solidarity displayed by our John Deere members combined with the determination of their negotiators made this accomplishment possible. They have started a movement for workers in this country by what was achieved here today and they have earned the admiration and respect of all that strive for what is just and equitable in the workplace.”
This week, John Deere announced the third tentative agreement, what had been dubbed by negotiators as the “best and final offer.” The negotiations involved more than 10,000 production and maintenance employees at a dozen plants in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas, as well as nearly 100 workers at Deere parts facilities in Colorado and Georgia.
The contract includes adjusted:
- Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)
- Two Retirement Plans
“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,” said John C. May, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Deere. “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. We have faith that, in return, our employees will find new and better ways to improve our competitiveness and transform the way our customers do their work. Together, our future is bright.