BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Strike at John Deere to end as UAW members ratify contract offer

Nov 18, 2021, 7:08 AM

Workers hold signs during a strike outside the John Deere Regional Parts Distribution facility in M...

Workers hold signs during a strike outside the John Deere Regional Parts Distribution facility in McDonough, Georgia, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union rejected a deal with Deere & Co., extending a nearly three-week-long strike and illustrating the growing willingness of U.S. workers to hold out for better terms. Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(UAW)

    (CNN) — More than 10,000 workers at John Deere will end a five-week strike and return to work after voting nearly two-to-one in favor of an offer very similar to one they rejected at the start of this month.

The United Auto Workers union announced Wednesday that 61% of members at Deere voted in favor of what the company had described as its last and best offer.

Both offers, the one that was rejected in a November 2 vote and the one accepted Wednesday, contain substantial gains for the union members. Both included a 10% immediate raise, an $8,500 signing bonus, additional 5% raises in the third and fifth year of the proposed six-year deal, and additional lump sum payments equal to 3% of pay in years two, four and six. In addition it restored a cost-of-living adjustment to protect workers from increases in consumer prices. Such clauses used to be common in union contracts but have become relatively rare in recent years.

The union said the offer that is the subject of this week’s vote had “modest modifications” from that previous, rejected tentative agreement.

The company will notify the strikers when they are expected to return to work. The vote and the deal were praised by leadership at both the UAW and Deere.

“I’m pleased our highly skilled employees are back to work,” said CEO John May. “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.”

“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,” said UAW Vice President Chuck Browning, head of the unit of the union that deals with Deere.

But despite the improved pay and benefits, many union members apparently voted no in all three votes. They believed that Deere, which has been reporting record profits in recent quarters amid strong demand for its farming and construction equipment, could afford to give more, especially after previous contracts in which workers had given the company various concessions.

The union had reached an initial tentative agreement with the company on October 1, but 90% of rank-and-file members voted that deal down in a vote completed on October 10. That vote led to the start of the strike four days later. The following vote that concluded on Nov. 2 had more support, but still failed with only 45% voting in favor a deal that would have sent them back to work two weeks ago.

After the Nov. 2 vote by the union rejecting the second tentative agreement, the company said it could not improve on the economic terms for another one. Marc Howze, Deere’s chief administrative officer in an interview with CNN Business, said the company would consider all options to serve its customers, including the possibility of importing products from overseas plants or hiring replacement workers.

But importing products creates other issues given current US supply chain problems. And there is a near record number of job openings, leaving employers scrambling to fill most jobs, let alone jobs that would require a worker to cross a picket line to report to work.

The dynamics of the current labor market have emboldened unions and their members to flex their muscles, with a significant portion of rank and file demanding even more than the union bargainers agreed to.

Earlier this week members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), workers who perform a wide range of non-acting and non-directing jobs for feature films, television shows and streaming programs, voted only 50.3% in favor of deals reached by their union, narrowly averting a strike by 63,000 workers that would have been the nation’s largest private sector work stoppage since 2007. There are 1,400 workers at cereal maker Kellogg who have been on strike more than 6 weeks, and nearly 1,000 Alabama coal miners who have been on strike against Warrior Met Coal since April 1.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

Utah MLB...

Aimee Cobabe

Legislature approves bill funding Utah MLB stadium, Fairpark District

As it reads now, House Bill 562 retains an increased tax on car rentals, but removes a hike in the hotel tax.

13 hours ago

FILE: A "For sale" sign in front of a home in North Salt Lake on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023....

Curt Gresseth

Utah home prices not likely to fall soon, says real-estate expert

Utah home prices are back up and so are interest rates -- and they will stay high says a Utah real-estate expert.

16 hours ago

A nurse works in the laboratory room in El Nuevo San Juan Health Center at the Bronx borough in New...

Tammy Kikuchi

Skeptics have doubts about universal health care model for Utah

One of the biggest concerns is affordability, according to a recent presentation at the Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute.

17 hours ago

Salt Lake City’s downtown skyline on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Jazz owner Ryan Smith continues to d...

Mariah Maynes

Utah Jazz owner hypes potential “sports-centered” downtown Salt Lake

Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz, is hyping up the possibility of bringing more professional sports teams to Utah. 

2 days ago

FILE: An Angel bike given to the family of Eli Mitchell in April, 2023. Mitchell was hit and killed...

Britt Johnson

Families of drunk driving victims fight possible new Utah liquor license legislation

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jefferson Burton would increase the number of liquor licenses issued by the state of Utah.

2 days ago

FILE: Tech workers are feeling a decline in on-the-job happiness according to a new survey. (Getty ...

Tammy Kikuchi

Tech workers report declining job happiness

Tech workers and those in the construction industry are on opposite sides of the a survey on job happiness.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

overhead view of a few aisles in a department store...

Big Deal Outlet

There is a Big Deal coming to Midvale: Local discount chain opens 8th store

If you love the thrill of finding good deals, check out the grand opening of Big Deal Outlet in Midvale from February 29 - March 2.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Strike at John Deere to end as UAW members ratify contract offer