John Deere Workers Win Strong New Contract Following Militant Strike Action

November 19, 2021

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On November 17, over 10,000 John Deere workers, unionized with the United Auto Workers (UAW), brought their month-long strike to an end, voting to ratify a strong new contract that preserves benefits, includes large pay raises and bonuses, and stopped management’s attempts to institute a new tier and eliminate defined-benefit pension plans for new hires.

The new six-year contract was ratified by a 61%-39% vote, following the vote-down of two previous tentative agreements. Workers held the line in solidarity even as the company bussed in salaried and non-union workers to attempt to keep the production facilities running. When offered contracts that would have preserved their own pay and benefits at the expense of new hires, workers refused to end their strike until these terms were removed.

"I'm not thinking about me,” Douglas Woolam, a 23-year employee at John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, IL, told the Des Moines Register during the strike. “I'm thinking about people behind me. My dad thought about people behind him. My aunt thought about people behind her. And my grandfather thought about people behind him.”

During the strike, APWU members showed up in solidarity across the country, joining picket lines and donating supplies to striking workers. This solidarity, along with the strong support from fellow union brothers and sisters and community members, helped UAW members hold the line until their victory.

“Congratulations to UAW John Deere workers on this remarkable achievement, and thank you to all the APWU members who stepped up in solidarity during the strike. By coming together and demanding no further givebacks, concessions, or weaker terms for new hires, UAW members secured not only a strong new contract for themselves, but important protections for future generations,” said President Dimondstein. “This great victory is a lesson in the power of solidarity, and what can be accomplished by all of us coming together as workers.”

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