Contract votes between Deere workers, management decided, union president says

NEW YORK (WSLS 10) – The striking Deere and Company workers have approved a new contract for the third time.

The labor contract is now up for a vote from 250,000 Deere workers in the United States and Canada.

If it is approved by its union, Deere workers will start their new job Monday morning.

Deere workers had been on strike since April 30.

While many of the strike workers were out sick over the weekend, many were at the meeting in Hartsville, South Carolina on Saturday to vote on the latest proposal.

Deere workers in Northeast Ohio and Iowa voted last week to reject a new contract.

Union President Tim Hunt said, “The company’s stock has doubled since they last gave us a contract. We think the compensation was inadequate.”

Hunt said that Deere is going after hourly workers rather than salaried.

As part of the new labor contract, the union is asking for a base pay raise of 2.5% a year for the next three years.

On top of that, workers will be eligible for paid retirement that will start at age 58 and have a monthly pension that will cover 70% of the worker’s base pay plus cost of living adjustments.

Hunt said, “A future employee would be making about $2,300 to $2,400 a month for the next 25 to 30 years at the company and living a pretty good life.”

Hunt also expressed concerns over the company’s aging equipment and the inability to replace it due to increasing costs.

Hunt said, “The investment has to be there for the people and we believe that money is already there and it is just a matter of how do you allocate the allocation?”

The company says the buybacks are a positive, but that it has options available to replace outdated equipment and make other improvements and it is part of a $100 million technology funding program.

The company and the union had both reached their last deal on May 21, but after a second ratification vote in Dallas, Texas on May 30, it was revoked.

After a third time, the workers on Saturday voted 80 percent to accept the new labor contract.

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