John Deere workers OK new contract, will end strike

Deere & Co. workers approved a new six-year contract on Wednesday, ending a monthlong strike.

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Workers approved the new deal by a margin of 61% to 39%, according to The Wall Street Journal. That brings an end to a strike that has lasted for more than a month.

The United Auto Workers union members approved the deal on its third vote, but the deal that was OK’d on Wednesday is similar to one that 55% of the workers rejected on Nov. 2, according to The Associated Press.

The UAW on Friday confirmed that Deere made a “last, best and final offer” that included “modest” modifications to the previous agreement, KWQC reported.

The contract will affect more than 10,000 employees at 12 John Deere facilities, the television station reported.

The total number of employees across the four Quad-Cities John Deere facilities is 3,950, according to the company. John Deere Waterloo Works alone has 3,317 employees, with the plants in Ankeny and Dubuque employing 2,290 people combined, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported.

“I’m pleased our highly skilled employees are back to work building and supporting the industry-leading products which make our customers more profitable and sustainable,” John C. May, Chairman and CEO for Deere, said in a statement. “We’re giving employees the opportunity to earn wages and benefits that are the best in our industries. We have faith that, in return, our employees will find new and better ways to improve our competitiveness.”

Deere said some workers will return to their plants as soon as Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

John Deere has facilities in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas, according to KWWL.

“UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace,” UAW President Ray Curry said in a statement Wednesday night.

Workers walked off their jobs on Oct. 14. It was the first strike against Deere in 35 years, according to The Wall Street Journal.