Musk's Company Talks Tunnel Project Near Stadium

Deere, UAW Reach Tentative Deal on Six-Year Contract

Fri October 03, 2003 - National Edition
CEG



MOLINE, IL (AP) Nearly a dozen union locals are expected to vote soon on a new six-year contract covering approximately 7,000 Deere & Co. workers and 17,000 retirees.

Deere and United Auto Workers negotiators reached a tentative agreement late Tuesday, Sept. 30, just hours before the midnight expiration of their current six-year pact.

The Moline-based company and the union declined to release terms of the deal, pending ratification by union members.

UAW officials said Wednesday that union votes have not been set and that results will not be announced until all of the 11 locals covered by the contract have voted.

"The negotiations were tough but fair," company negotiator Ken Huhn said in a written statement. "Both parties worked hard to craft an agreement that meets the needs of workers while recognizing the nature of Deere’s competitive environment."

A statement by the union concurred.

"We’ve worked hard to get a tentative agreement that we feel serves our members’ best interests and the interests of the communities where we work and live," UAW vice president Cal Rapson said.

The contract covers workers at seven Deere production facilities in Illinois and Iowa, along with three parts depots in Minnesota, Colorado and Georgia.

The old contract created a two-tiered wage system paying less to new hires. Among the issues during this round of negotiations was benefits for those workers and for retirees who face increasing insurance costs, workers said.

Deere is one of the world’s largest farm machinery makers, producing tractors, tillers and harvesting equipment. The company also makes construction equipment and other non-farm products, such as backhoes, chain saws and snow blowers.