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Deere workers would get immediate 10% raises under new offer

The agreement would bring wage increases, a post-retirement health care fund and retirement bonuses.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The United Auto Workers (UAW) revealed new details today in the tentative agreement reached between the union and John Deere after workers have been on strike for more than two weeks.

Union workers have raised concerns over wages, pensions and health care benefits. Under the new proposal, wages will increase by 10% in the first year, then increase by 5% every other year—with 3% lump sum payments every year in between.

There will also be a post-retirement health care fund for workers, with an additional $2,000 in seed money per year of service. Finally, all employees will be eligible for a retirement bonus of up to $50,000, based on the number of years they've worked for Deere.

When the new agreement comes up for a vote, workers said they're confident in their bargaining position.

"Deere is not in any position to play too many games," said Chris Laursen, a member of UAW's Local 74 chapter. "I mean, they have some loyal customers out there, many of them that stand by us, support our strike. Give us something fair, and let's get back to work and take care of these farmers."

UAW President Ray Curry also voiced support for the agreement.

“Our UAW John Deere national bargaining team went back to our local members after the previous tentative agreement and canvassed the concerns and priorities of membership,” UAW President Ray Curry said. “We want to thank the UAW bargaining team and striking UAW members and their families for the sacrifices they have made to achieve these gains. Our members have enjoyed the support of our communities and the entire labor movement nationwide as they have stood together in support and solidarity these past few weeks.”

Voting on the new contract is currently scheduled for November 2 at 10 a.m. At least until then, strikers will remain on the picket lines.

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