John Deere workers on strike after overwhelmingly rejecting new contract

Workers at John Deere are walking off the production lines after union workers rejected a six-year labor contract.

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The United Auto Workers union represents the farm equipment maker’s workers.

After weeks of negotiations over wages and benefits, 90% of union workers voted against the agreement, which covered about 10,000 production and maintenance employees at 14 U.S. plants, Reuters reported.

The vote was held on Sunday, CNN reported.

The now-rejected agreement would have given wage hikes of either 5% or 6% to workers and an additional 3% raise in 2023 and 2025.

Workers said the raises were not enough and that the deal denied a pension for new employees, The New York Times reported.

For its part, John Deere representatives said that while workers did not agree on this deal, it is committed to reaching an agreement; but they did not say when negotiations would be done.

Workers said they had to make benefit concessions in the past, but now that the company has been doing “very well financially” and with continuing labor shortages plaguing the county, workers wanted those benefits back, Reuters reported.

John Deere said that despite the strike, operations are expected to continue as normal.

The company employs about 27,500 people across the U.S. and Canada.

About 10,000 employees are on strike, The New York Times reported.

The company operates 11 factories in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas and three distribution centers in Georgia, Illinois and Colorado, CNN reported.

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