UAW members ratified the agreement by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent
By Diego Flammini
The five-week strike at John Deere is over.
About 10,000 workers returned to work at 14 facilities across the United States on Nov. 17 and 18 after the United Auto Workers (UAW) announced 61 percent of its members voted in favor of the six-year contract on Wednesday.
“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,” Chuck Browning, UAW vice president, said in a statement.
The contract includes:
- An $8,500 ratification bonus,
- Wage increases of 20 percent over the duration of the contract with an immediate 10 percent increase this year,
- Cost of living adjustments,
- Three lump sum payments of 3 percent, and
- Enhanced options for retirement and enhanced CIPP performance benefits.
John Deere is pleased the strike is over.
This new contract positions the company and its employees for success, said John May, CEO of John 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,” he said in a Nov. 17 statement. “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.”
Despite the ratification, almost 40 percent of employees voted the contract down.
Some felt Deere could have offered workers more.
“The cost of my tractor went up, and Bill Gates has enough stock in the company to be able to retire comfortably … The company has money to give. When is enough, enough?” a worker who wished to remain anonymous told the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.
Deere employees originally went on strike on Oct. 14 after more than 90 percent of employees voted against the first contract proposal.
John Deere and the UAW reached a second tentative agreement on Oct. 30, but the union voted it down on Nov. 2.