EAST MOLINE, Ill. — In the midst of a five-week strike, United Auto Workers union has accepted the latest offer from John Deere and will return to facilities for work on Thursday morning.
Majority approved Deere's third offer by a 61% to 39% voting margin on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The contract will be in effect for the next six years.
UAW Vice President Chuck Browning released the following statement on Wednesday night:
“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,” Browning said. “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.”
Here's the reported voting margins for some UAW locations:
- Local 281 (Davenport Works): 77% YES, 23% NO.
- Local 383 (Waterloo) 44% YES, 56% NO.
- Local 865 (Harvester) 62% YES, 38% NO.
- Local 450 (Des Moines) 64% YES, 36% NO.
Roughly 10,100 members of the United Auto Workers union were eligible to vote on this latest offer which union leaders say features "minor modifications" from the previous contract rejected earlier this month.
Deere called the second offer its 'last, best and final' before 55% of union members turned it down on Nov. 2.
During the second vote 9,040 members submitted a ballot, with 5,010 voting against the contract and 4,030 choosing to accept it. In order to pass, a tentative agreement only needs a one vote majority. That second contract could have passed if 491 members had flipped from a 'no' to a 'yes' vote.
The first tentative agreement was turned down by 90% of union workers on October 10, so it appeared things had been trending towards a majority agreement up to this point.
The latest contract features benefits like an immediate 10% raise, followed by a 5% raise on the third and fifth years of the contract, and lump sum bonuses on the second and fourth years.
Most of the changes in the third offer involve Deere's quarterly incentive program, known as "Continuous Improvement Performance Plans" (CIPP).
CIPP employees would be eligible to earn 5% more on weekly bonuses if a certain threshold of productivity is met.
With workers holding out, Deere has used an all-hands-on-deck approach to keep their services running. People like Chief Technology Officer Jahmy Hindman have jumped on the lines to assist with the company's shorthanded production.
“I’m very glad that our highly skilled employees are back to work building and supporting the industry-leading products that will make our customers more profitable and sustainable,” John C. May, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Deere, said in a statement Wednesday night. “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. 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.”