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UAW approves new contract with Deere & Co.

61% of union members voted in favor of the 6-year-contract on Wednesday, ending the strike...
61% of union members voted in favor of the 6-year-contract on Wednesday, ending the strike against John Deere.(Charlie Neibergall | AP)
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 8:03 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 10:45 PM CST
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - United Auto Workers union members Wednesday voted to accept a contract agreement with Deere & Company, ending the strike that began more than a month ago.

According to UAW 281 and 838, 61% of union members voted to ratify the contract while 39% voted against it.

“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 officer for Deere, said.

UAW reports the ratified six-year contract includes “an $8,500 signing bonus; 20% increase in wages over the lifetime of the contract with 10% this year; return of Cost of Living adjustments; three 3% lump sum payments; enhanced options for retirement and enhanced CIPP performance benefits. Healthcare remains the same for the life of the agreement.”

Local 281 in Davenport reportEd 77% of it’s members voted in favor of the contract. UAW Local 838 in Waterloo reported 44% of its members voted for the contract while 56% voted against it.

Local 434 in Moline reportEd 79% of it’s members voted in favor of the contract.

UAW President Ray Curry 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... 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.”

Workers are expected to start their shifts immediately, according to Deere. The third shift startEd as soon as 11 p.m. Wednesday.

“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. 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,” May said.

The union on Friday confirmed that Deere made a “last, best and final offer” that included “modest” modifications to a second tentative agreement that the union rejected on Nov. 2.

The contract will affect over 10,000 employees at 14 John Deere facilities.

“Our members stood together and did not waiver,” UAW Region 4 Director Ron McInroy said. “Members and their families put a lot on the line for these gains and the community support was overwhelming. I’d like to thank the John Deere members, their families, their leaders and our bargaining team for standing firm and achieving these important gains.”

On Oct. 10, 90% of union workers rejected a proposed six-year collective bargaining agreement.

Four days later, union workers went on strike.

Some employees on the picket line at John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline said they voted “yes” to the third contract after voting against the second. They said the clarification on CIPP and filing grievances was the difference he needed to approve the contract.

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