On October 14, after 90% of UAW members at John Deere voted no to a new contract, 10,100 workers hit the picket lines.  Now, a little over a month later, the third time is the charm for a new contract to be ratified by workers.

According to the UAW website, the new contract was passed by a vote of 61% to 39%. The majority yes vote comes in after the last contract was voted down by a 55% to 45% margin.  With the agreement being made, workers are expected to be back to work as soon as this evening.

The agreement includes an $8,500 signing bonus; 20% increase in wages over the lifetime of the contract with 10% this year; return of Cost of Living adjustments; three 3% lump sum payments; enhanced options for retirement and enhanced CIPP performance benefits. Healthcare remains the same for the life of the agreement.

UAW President Ray Curry, on behalf of the International Executive Board, thanked the members and families of UAW John Deere for their willingness to sacrifice. “UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace. We could not be more proud of these UAW members and their families.”

“Our members courageous willingness to strike in order to attain a better standard of living and a more secure retirement resulted in a groundbreaking contract and sets a new standard for workers not only within the UAW but throughout the country,” said Chuck Browning, Vice President of the UAW and Director of the UAW Agricultural Implement department. “The sacrifice and solidarity displayed by our John Deere members combined with the determination of their negotiators made this accomplishment possible. They have 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.”

In a statement released by John Deere, CEO John C. May said, "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 Deere's success depends on the success of our people. Through our new collective bargaining agreements, we're giving employees the opportunity to earn wages and benefits that are the best in our industries and are groundbreaking in many ways. We have faith that, in return, our employees will find new and better ways to improve our competitiveness and transform the way our customers do their work. Together, our future is bright."

The community support for the workers during the last month has been tremendous.  Not only did local businesses step in and offer discounts on everything from food and entertainment, but individuals stepped in and brought food, clothes, and wood to stay warm while on the lines.  Now, with the new contract in place, the UAW members will get back to work knowing that many in the community have been with them for this last month.

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