UAW Ratifies Deere Contract

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) -- Deere & Co. said members of the United Auto Workers union have ratified a new six-year contract covering about 9,500 workers -- or roughly 17 percent of the company's work force -- and 17,000 retirees.

The world's largest maker of farm machinery said on Sunday it had been notified by the union of the ratification of the agreement, which takes effect Monday and expires Oct. 1, 2015. Terms of the contract were not immediately available.

Deere has been battered by the slumping global economy, which has depressed sales of its tractors, bulldozers and other products. But while the company has laid off hundreds of workers since the economic downturn worsened late last year, it has avoided the sort of large-scale job cuts seen at other large manufacturers.

News of the contract ratification comes after the two sides said last week they had reached a tentative deal. Deere and the union began negotiations in late August, before the previous contract expired last Wednesday.

"This agreement is good for our employees and good for the company. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our workforce as we team together to retain our position as a leader in the various markets we serve," Samuel Allen, Deere's president and CEO, said in a statement.

The UAW-Deere agreement represents workers at the following plants in Illinois: John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline; John Deere Seeding Group/Cylinder Division in Moline, and John Deere North American Parts Distribution Center in Milan.

In Iowa, they include John Deere Davenport Works; John Deere Des Moines Works; John Deere Dubuque Works; John Deere Ottumwa Works; John Deere Waterloo Works; John Deere Engine Works in Waterloo; John Deere Waterloo Tractor, Cab Assembly Operations; John Deere Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, and John Deere Foundry in Waterloo.

Other facilities affected by the agreement include parts depots in Atlanta and Denver and the John Deere Coffeyville Works in Kansas.

Shares of Moline, Ill.-based Deere rose 86 cents to $41.99 in morning trading.

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