United Auto Workers members approved a new six-year contract with Deere & Co. on Wednesday, putting an end to a five-week-long strike that has come to symbolize the impact the pandemic has had on the economy.
Approximately 10,000 union members ratified the new contract offer by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent — they had rejected the two previous offers.
“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,” the union said in a statement.
Deere workers on strike last week near the company headquarters in Moline, Illinois, said that they wanted recognition for the sacrifices they made over the past two years during the pandemic. Many worked grueling shifts in masks to keep farm and construction equipment in production that had been declared essential to the economy.
The initial contract between Deere and UAW on Oct. 1 included immediate raises of 5 to 6%, and an additional 3 percent in 2023 and 2025. It also proposed eliminating pensions for new hires. Workers denied this offer by large margins.
The second agreement offered an immediate 10% raise and an $8,500 bonus, plus 5 percent raises in 2023 and 2025. Workers denied this one, too, but the margins were closer.
The latest contract made “modest modifications” to the second offer, but workers wanted adjustments for how bonuses would be calculated for workers who meet production targets.
Kristin Jordan, a 19-year veteran at a Deere combine factory, said she was relieved to see the vote pass. “I’m exhausted and nervous, but I’m proud of what was accomplished,” she said.
Deere employees have chimed in on the matter. “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 C. May, chairman and chief executive, said in an emailed statement.
“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 added.
Image source: WIRED
The post John Deere Workers Win 10% Raise, Ending Historic Five-Week Strike appeared first on Tank Good News.