John Deere workers win big gains in "landmark" contract
John Deere workers picketing after going on strike -- photo via twitter
In an impressive example of what workers can achieve when they remain united and defiant, union members at John Deere in the United States have won significant gains in a contract they approved November 17. The workers had previously rejected two contract offers from management and held strong on the picket lines for over a month.
According to a United Auto Workers (UAW) statement which called it a "landmark agreement":
By a vote of 61% to 39%, UAW John Deere members ratified the agreement, which 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.
That this was a big win for workers can even be seen in the mainstream media reaction with a Newsweek headline, for example, saying "Company Buckles to Strike Demands".
The John Deere strike was a part of the Striketober wave of labour militancy that swept the United States over the last few weeks. The are also ongoing union drives to organize workers at Amazon facilities and at Starbucks locations in Buffalo.
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. 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. - Chuck Browning, Vice President of the UAW and Director of the UAW Agricultural Implement department.