John Deere, UAW reach contract agreement to end strike

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OTTUMWA, Iowa — The United Auto Workers union strike against John Deere is officially over.

The UAW announced Wednesday that 61 percent of members approved John Deere’s third contract offer. The union had been on strike against John Deere since Oct. 14.

According to a statement from the UAW, the six-year deal includes:

  • An $8,500 signing bonus
  • A 20 percent increase in wages during the length of the contract
  • A 10 percent increase in wages in 2021
  • Cost-of-living adjustments for wages
  • Expanded retirement package options
  • No changes to healthcare for the contract’s duration

In the statement, UAW’s president 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.”

Ray Curry, UAW President

John Deere reports employees will return to work for the third-shift late Wednesday night.

The company’s CEO also released a statement about the agreement:

“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.”

John C. May, John Deere Chairman and CEO

The strike affected more than 10,000 John Deere employees across the Midwest. Nearly 700 of those work at John Deere’s Ottumwa facility and are represented by UAW Local 74.

“It’s been a good force. I’m glad it worked out like this,” said UAW Local 74 member Tony Long. “Now you get along with some people you didn’t get along with before.”

UAW Local 74 also approved the second contract offer negotiated by the union and John Deere, although that offer failed across the region.

“It was kind of frustrating, but I understood some of the people’s wants,” said Long. “I was hoping for about $5 more an hour up front, to keep our insurance, and to add on to our retirement. We didn’t quite get the $5 an hour, but we’re good now.”

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