UAW members to vote on new contract offer from John Deere Tuesday

Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Deere & Company announced on Saturday it had reached a tentative agreement with the UAW that may end the strike that began on Oct. 14. UAW members will vote on the new proposed six-year contract on Tuesday.

Ninety percent of the UAW members voted to reject Deere’s previous proposal, which led to more than 10,000 workers at the company production plants to walk out. Iowa is home to seven of Deere’s 14 plants, and the strike is the largest labor action in the state in more than 30 years. Over 6,000 Deere workers are on strike in Iowa.

One of the main reasons UAW voters rejected the previous proposed contract was it excluded new hires from the company’s retirement system, offering a 401(k) plan instead. That has been dropped from the new contract proposal. New hires would be enrolled in the same retirement system Deere workers have had since 1997. (That year, Deere eliminated retirement healthcare benefits for new hires.) The new contract would also increase payments to workers during the first five years of their retirement.

The company still intends to offer a 401(k) plan to workers who want to participate in it.

Other provisions of the new contract proposal include a 10 percent pay raise for all UAW workers, instead of the 5 or 6 percent increase, depending on the job, of the earlier contract. The new offer also includew 5 percent pay increases for 2023 and 2025.

The company also increased the bonus to UAW if the contract is ratified from $3,500 to $8,500.

Deere is still projected to earn almost $6 billion in profits this year, which will far exceed the record-setting $3.5 billion in profits it had in 2013.

Results of the UAW ratification vote should be known Tuesday night.