John Deere workers end strike, reach deal with UAW

Local News

After the UAW ratified an agreement with John Deere, a former picket area at John Deere Seeding was quiet Wednesday night (photo by Eric Olsen.)

The United Auto Workers ratified an agreement—which was tentative as of Friday—with John Deere on Wednesday evening that ended a five-week strike.

The UAW members, who wanted higher wages, began the strike at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 14 – the first strike in 35 years.

A UAW source told Local 4 News on Wednesday night the approval vote was 61%.

The latest contract maintains the 10% immediate raises the last deal offered, and it makes what the United Auto Workers union called modest changes to Deere’s internal incentive pay program for workers.

A Deere spokesperson said operations will resume for the third shift Wednesday night.

Both sides reached the first tentative agreement after six weeks of negotiations. That was rejected by the union.

A few days into the strike, Deere won a temporary injunction against the union to limit the number of people who could be on the picket line outside the Davenport Works Plant. A judge rejected the company’s move for a similar injunction outside the Des Moines Works in Ankeny.

The union and the company reached a tentative agreement on Oct. 30, but 55% of the union membership rejected it.

Some UAW members and supporters staged a one-day picket outside John Deere World Headquarters just over a week later. This was the only time picketers were at the world headquarters.

Ratification votes and dates

  • 11/17/2021 – Yes 61%, No 39%
  • 11/2/2021 – Yes 45%, No 55%
  • 10/10/2021  – Yes 10%, No 90%

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) has informed Deere & Company that its production and maintenance employees have voted to ratify new six-year collective bargaining agreements that cover more than 10,000 workers at 14 facilities across the United States, according to a news release from Deere.

“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,” said John C. May, chairman and chief executive officer for Deere, said in the 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,” May said, “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.”

The UAW on Wednesday said the strike “captured the mood of a nation in search of fairness in wages and benefits for workers,” and said UAW John Deere members “ratified a landmark agreement” that 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; enhance” and options for retirement and enhanced CIPP performance benefits. Healthcare remains the same for the life of the agreement.

UAW President Ray Curry, on behalf of the International Executive Board, thanked the members and families of UAW John Deere for their willingness to sacrifice. “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,” said Chuck Browning, Vice President of the UAW and Director of the UAW Agricultural Implement department. “The sacrifice and solidarity displayed by our John Deere members combined with the determination of their negotiators made this accomplishment possible. 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.”

Locally, UAW Region 4 Director Ron McInroy thanked the communities and families of John Deere UAW members, for their support and thanked the members for their solidarity. “Our members stood together and did not waiver,” said McInroy. “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.”

Local 4 News and will provide more details when they become available.

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