John Deere reaches tentative labour deal with UAW union

Farm equipment manufacturer Deere & Co. reached a tentative labour agreement on Saturday with the United Auto Workers union.

But a UAW strike that began Oct. 14 will continue — and details of the proposed contract will not be released — while workers study the terms of the agreement in advance of a vote.

The pact would cover more than 10,000 production and maintenance workers at 12 Deere sites in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas.

The strike began after UAW members overwhelmingly rejected an initial proposed contract that would have delivered immediate five per cent raises for some workers and six per cent raises for others depending on their positions at Deere factories. The pact also called for three per cent raises in 2023 and 2025.

After the first deal was rejected, UAW “negotiators focused on improving the areas of concern identified by our members,” said Chuck Browning, director of the union’s farm equipment department.

A John Deere tractor is on display at the 117th Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, Ky., in August. (Amira Karaoud/Reuters)

The U.S. economy’s unexpectedly strong rebound from last year’s brief but intense coronavirus recession has created labour shortages — and handed workers more leverage to demand higher pay and better benefits.

The contract talks come as strong sales this year helped Deere, based in Moline, Ill., report $4.7 billion US net income for the first nine months of its fiscal year, which was more than double the $2 billion US it reported a year ago.

The company is expecting to earn more than $5.7 billion US this fiscal year.

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