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John Deere workers approve contract, ending month-long strike

John Deere factory workers have agreed to a new contract, ending a monthlong strike that symbolized a surge in labor action amid the pandemic recovery, The Washington Post reported.

The workers union said members ratified the new contract offer by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent, after voting down two previous offers since beginning their strike on Oct. 14. 

“A strike that captured the mood of a nation in search of fairness in wages and benefits for workers, ended today when UAW John Deere members ratified a landmark agreement after weeks of striking,” the United Auto Workers (UAW) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new agreement includes an $8,500 signing bonus, a 20 percent increase in wages over the lifetime of contracts with 10 percent this year, cost of living adjustments and enhanced options for retirement, and other performance benefits, according to the union. 

UAW Vice President Chuck Browning said the Deere workers “started a movement for workers in this country by what was achieved here today and they have earned the admiration and respect of all that strive for what is just and equitable in the workplace.”

Jennifer Hartmann, a Deere spokeswoman, told the Post that workers would return to work immediately. 

“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 chief executive officer of the company, said in an emailed statement, according to the Post.  

The John Deere worker strike was the company’s first since 1986. It gained national attention as the two-year pandemic lockdown caused a new era of labor activism, in which tens of thousands of workers have threatened strikes demanding higher pay and better conditions.  

Tags John Deere union strikes United Auto Workers

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