John Deere, UAW union agree on tentative labor agreement

By Riley SimpsonOctober 06, 2021

John Deere and the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) reached a tentative labor agreement last week to cover more than 10,000 employees

Last week, manufacturer John Deere reached a tentative six-year agreement with United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), the union that represents approximately 10,100 John Deere employees in the Midwest.

The new pact covers those 10,000-plus production and maintenance employees at 12 facilities in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas; the company and the UAW also reached a tentative six-year agreement covering 100 employees at Deere parts facilities in Georgia and Colorado.

UAW did not offer specifics of the deal but said it includes “significant economic gains.”

“After six weeks of negotiations, John Deere and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement that honors the enormous contributions of John Deere’s production and maintenance employees and builds a strong foundation for our shared success in the future,” said Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere & Company. “Through this agreement, John Deere reinforces our longstanding commitment to provide employees the opportunities to earn the best wages and most comprehensive benefits in the agriculture and construction industries.”

According to local news outlets in Iowa and Illinois, workers were ready to stop working (after voting to authorize a strike in mid-September) if the six-year labor deal was not agreed upon by the previous contract’s expiration at midnight between Thursday, Sept. 30 and Friday, Oct. 1.

After temporarily extending the old contract, the two sides tentatively agreed to the new deal, and now, UAW must present the terms of the new contract to members by Oct. 10.

Before the new agreement was reached and according to reporting by NBC affiliate station KWQC, 20-year John Deere employee Tim Niedert said, “People are ready to take action, people are to the point where they’re not intimidated anymore.”

The Moline, Ill.-based manufacturer has not experienced a worker strike since 1986, when employees stopped working for 163 days.

John Deere said in a release production and maintenance employees will have time to review the terms of the tentative agreement before a ratification vote. The company said all operations will continue as scheduled.

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