Approximately 10,000 members of the United Auto Workers union (UAW) went on strike against John Deere (Deere & Company) Thursday morning. The UAW had reached a tentative agreement on a new contact with the company several weeks ago, but union members rejected it in a ratification vote. The strike affects 14 facilities across the United States.
“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” says Chuck Browning, VP and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.”
UAW John Deere members, added UAW president Ray Curry, “have worked through the pandemic after the company deemed them essential, to produce the equipment that feeds America, builds America and powers the American economy. These essential UAW workers are showing us all that through the power of a strong united union voice on the picket line they can make a difference for working families here and throughout the country. The almost one million UAW retirees and active members stand in solidarity with the striking UAW members at John Deere.”
In a press release, John Deere stated:
“John Deere remains committed to working toward a favorable outcome for our workers and our communities. Specifically, we want to reach an agreement with the UAW that would put every employee in a better economic position. The tentative agreement reached after weeks of negotiations honors our commitment to work with our employees to provide them with economic progress and a rewarding career.
The company shared these highlights from the tentative agreement:
- “…The typical production employee’s annual wages all-in would increase from $60,000 today under the terms of the current contract to nearly $72,000 by the end of the tentative agreement. This is the equivalent of an hourly increase from about $33 per hour to nearly $40.
- Through our negotiations, we agreed that our production and maintenance employees would retain precisely the same industry-leading healthcare benefits. They will continue to have $0 in deductibles, $0 in premiums, and $0 in co-insurance over the life of the contract. Their co-payments will not change one penny.
- While healthcare costs are expected to rise from $12 to $17 per hour for John Deere over the contract term, employee healthcare costs will not go up.
- We are providing access to healthcare to our newest production and maintenance employees earlier in their careers….Under the tentative agreement, John Deere accelerated healthcare eligibility to as soon as 30 days after employment.
- [The tentative agreement provided] an entirely new retirement bonus and cash balance pension benefit. The typical employee would receive these new lump sum payments totaling nearly $134,000 at the end of a full career.”
“We remain committed to hearing our employees’ priorities and continuing talks until the strike is resolved, while also keeping our operations running to support everyone who depends on us,” the company stated.