John Deere workers approve new deal after monthlong strike

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The union had rejected the last two proposals.

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The United Autoworkers union announced Wednesday night that it has voted to ratify a deal that ends the strike of thousands of John Deere workers.

According to the UAW, the agreement was approved by 61% to 39% of the votes. The new deal includes an $8,500 signing bonus, a 20% increase in wages over the lifetime of the contract and 10% this year as well as cost of living adjustments, three lump-sum payments and changes to retirement and performance benefits. Federation.

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“The sacrifice and solidarity displayed by our John Deere members, combined with the determination of their interlocutors, made this achievement possible,” UAW Vice President and UAW Department of Agriculture Implementation Director Chuck Browning said in a statement. “He has started a movement for workers in this country to achieve what it is today and has earned the admiration and respect of all who strive for what is just and equitable in the workplace.”

The tentative deal happened late last Friday.

The stoppage of work involved employees of the agricultural machinery giant at 12 facilities in three states and just passed the one-month mark after it began on October 14, when workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer from the company. in which immediately 5% or 6 would have been given. Among other things, % increment.

By a very close margin – 55% against and 45% in favor – UAW workers rejected a second tentative agreement earlier this month, which called for an immediate 10% pay increase as well as better retirement benefits guaranteed to new workers. Will be

Many have pointed to the ongoing strike and talks as a sign of a new, post-pandemic labor movement that gives workers a clear upper hand as major companies report struggles to find employees and record A high number of workers are leaving their jobs.

The Labor Department said just last week that a new record-high number of employees – which makes up about 3% of the total workforce – left their jobs in September, while the job figures are also nearing record highs. Meanwhile, new unionization efforts are emerging at major companies, including Amazon and Starbucks.

Details on the latest contract agreement were not released by the union or John Deere ahead of Wednesday’s vote, but the UAW said it contained “minor amendments”.

“John Deere & Company has made the final, best and final proposal to the UAW negotiating team which includes minor amendments to the final provisional agreement submitted for ratification on November 2,” UAW said in a statement.

“As a result, the UAW will submit the company’s offer for ratification and, as has occurred during the bargaining process, endorse the outcome determined by our members,” the statement said, adding that the strike is ongoing and the vote will be informed by local associations. provided by the members.

In a statement earlier this month after the union rejected the second tentative agreement, John Deere’s chief administrative officer, Mark A. Jose, said, “Through the agreements made with the UAW, John Deere has raised additional $ in our 3.5 billion in employees, and by extension, our communities, to significantly increase wages and benefits that were already among the best and most comprehensive of our industries.”

“This investment was the right one to serve Deere, our employees, and all of us together,” Hodge said. “Even though this created more competitive challenges within our industries, we were confident in our employees’ ability to accelerate our competitive edge.”

John Deere also called the second, disapproved agreement “groundbreaking” on its website, saying it would allow workers to “share in our current and future success through wages and benefits not only in our industry”. The best – they are phenomenal.”

The first strike at John Deere in more than three decades came as the company raked in a record-high $4.68 billion during the first nine months of the 2021 fiscal year, up from a reported $1.99 billion during the same time last year. was more than double.

Meanwhile, John May, president and CEO of John Deere, earned approximately $15.58 million in compensation in fiscal year 2020, according to a Company SEC Filings, That would make the ratio of a CEO’s total compensation to an average employee’s total compensation to roughly 220 to 1, the SEC filing states in 2020.

A GoFundMe page started to support workers while on strike has raised some $158,591 in three weeks from more than 3,500 donors.

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