John Deere strike ends after 5 weeks

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


For the first time in more than a month, employees of an iconic builder of tractors and farm equipment are preparing to return to the job. 

Wednesday night, John Deere announced it had reached a new, six-year collective bargaining agreement with the union representing about 10,000 workers at 14 locations across the United States. 

“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 CEO for Deere, said in a release. “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.”

The workers, represented by UAW – the shorthand name of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America – had been on strike since mid-October, citing disgruntlement over what they perceived as an unfair balance in profit sharing. 

“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, Vice President of the UAW and Director of the UAW Agricultural Implement department, said in a release. “The sacrifice and solidarity displayed by our John Deere members combined with the determination of their negotiators made this accomplishment possible.”

According to UAW, the new agreement includes an $8,500 signing bonus, an immediate 10-percent increase in wages, a 20-percent increase in wages over the lifetime of an employee’s contract, cost-of-living adjustments, and a trio of 3-percent lump-sum payments, as well as additional retirement benefits.