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John Deere and UAW reach terms, end strike with immediate 10% pay boost

Abby Wendle
Harvest Public Media

United Auto Workers members at John Deere are back at work after ending their 5-week strike Wednesday night.

United Auto Workers members at tractor-maker John Deere are back at work after ending their strike by approving a new contract with increases in pay and benefits.

Operations resumed on the third shift Wednesday night, a spokesperson for John Deere said. The spokesperson said each factory is getting back to full production over the next several days.

The more than 10,000 UAW union members in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas sought higher wages and better retirement benefits from Deere & Co. They had been on strike since mid-October.

Sixty-one percent of union members approved a new 6-year contract after John Deere made its third offer. The workers get an immediate 10% wage increase. That will make up part of the 20% wage hikes over the life of the contract. They also get a boost in retirement benefits.

John Deere CEO John C. May touted the labor deal in a statement.

“We're giving employees the opportunity to earn wages and benefits that are the best in our industries,” 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.”

Chuck Browning, the vice president of the UAW, also praised the contract in a statement. He said the union 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.”

Katie Peikes is Iowa Public Radio's agriculture reporter. She joined IPR in July 2018 as its first-ever western Iowa reporter.
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