Workers at John Deere plants have agreed to a six-year collective bargaining deal after a month-long strike by more than 10,000 employees at 14 facilities, according to the company and the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.
John Deere’s UAW members voted 61% to 39% to accept the latest deal on the table that includes raises, signing bonuses and other benefits. The company, maker of the iconic green and yellow tractors, agreed to raise wages 20% over the lifetime of employee contracts, including a 10% raise this year.
“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,” said UAW Vice President Chuck Browning, who is also director of the union’s agricultural implement department.
Developments in the strike reverberated nationwide and drew the focus of the Biden administration. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack personally visited with striking workers at a Deere plant in Ankeny, Iowa, in October.
A spokeswoman quoted Vilsack as saying, “We need you – the folks who understand the value of hard work.”
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John Deere Chairman and CEO John C. May issued a statement predicting a bright future for the company and its employees.
"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," May said.
“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.”