In the beginning of October, the first new labor agreement between John Deere and its union workers was announced. But just a few short days later, employees voted against the agreement and went on strike starting Oct. 14. Now, over the weekend, negotiators with the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) and John Deere announced the two had reached a second tentative agreement.
UAW announced that, amid this new agreement with the elected national bargaining team at John Deere, union workers will remain on strike throughout the ratification process.
Although UAW has not released official details, a summary has been posted online. According to The Associated Press, “Union workers at Deere & Co. would get wage increases of 10% in the first year and 5% each in the third and fifth years under a tentative contract.” The new contract also includes an $8,500 ratification bonus along with additional lump sums throughout the life of the contract.
This comes after the union workers largely rejected the first tentative agreement which included immediate 5 percent raises for some workers and 6 percent for others, and 3 percent raises in 2023 and 2025. A major sticking point the first time around was that the 3 percent raises would not match annual cost of living increases.
The new six-year agreement also includes changes to health care and retirement money, both of which were hotly debated in the weeks leading up to the original contract deadline.
“Our UAW John Deere national bargaining team went back to our local members after the previous tentative agreement and canvassed the concerns and priorities of membership,” said UAW President Ray Curry. “Our members have enjoyed the support of our communities and the entire labor movement nationwide as they have stood together in support and solidarity these past few weeks.”
This is the first strike in 35 years, when workers walked out for 163 days amid the 1980s’ farm crisis. The second tentative agreement covers over 10,000 production and maintenance employees at 14 facilities in the United States. The original tentative agreement was rejected by about 90 percent of the union’s membership.
Chuck Browning, UAW Vice President and Director of the Agricultural Implement Department said the agreement contains enhanced economic gains and continues to provide the highest quality healthcare benefits in the industry. “The negotiators focused on improving the areas of concern identified by our members during our last ratification process.”