John Deere's striking union employees have approved the company's latest contract offer, ending a month-long strike and successfully fighting for greater pay and benefits.
The United Auto Workers, which represents the 10,000 workers from a dozen Midwest Deere & Co. factories, announced Wednesday night that its members had voted 61% to 39% in favor of the deal that includes an $8,500 ratification bonus, an immediate 10% increase in wages with further increases over the life of the six-year agreement, and other benefits including retirement boosts.
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Both the union and John Deere celebrated the vote.
"UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace," UAW President Ray Curry said in a statement. "We could not be more proud of these UAW members and their families."
"The sacrifice and solidarity displayed by our John Deere members combined with the determination of their negotiators made this accomplishment possible," said UAW Vice President Chuck Browning. "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."
Deere Chairman and CEO John May said in a statement, "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 Deere’s success depends on the success of our people," May continued. "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, "Together, our future is bright."