John Deere workers union reaches tentative deal to end 2-week strike
The United Automobile Workers said on Saturday it had reached a tentative deal with farm equipment maker Deere & Company, potentially ending a strike involving around 10,000 workers that began in mid-October. The deal has yet to be approved by union members.
Deere workers, mostly in Iowa and Illinois, had gone on strike after rejecting an initial deal with the company earlier this month. Many workers had complained that the previously proposed contract produced insufficient wage increases and denied a traditional pension to new employees, even though the company was on the verge of a record high of nearly $ 6 billion. dollars in profit this year.
“Negotiators have focused on improving areas of concern identified by our members during our last ratification process,” said Chuck Browning, UAW vice president who oversaw the negotiations, in a statement, which said. cited the “increased economic gains” from the new agreement.
The statement also said the agreement “continues to provide the highest quality healthcare in the industry,” but makes no specific mention of pension arrangements. The union said it would not release details of the deal until John Deere workers had a chance to review them.
Deere and Company acknowledged the deal in a statement but did not provide further details.
The initial agreement voted on by members was announced by the union on October 1 and would have increased wages by 5 or 6% this year, depending on the worker’s pay grade, and by 3% more in 2023 and 2025.
This would have increased retirement benefits for many workers, but traditional retirement benefits for workers hired after 1997 would have remained much lower than traditional benefits for workers hired before this year, and new hires would not have received at all. traditional pension.
The work stoppage came at a time when the number of strikes had increased from previous months, including more than 1,000 workers at Kellogg and more than 2,000 hospital workers in New York.
Some Deere workers have grown suspicious of their union leadership amid a spate of corruption scandals involving UAW officials and executives at the company then known as Fiat Chrysler, who have led to more than 15 convictions. Among them were two recent presidents of the UAW.