Thousands of John Deere employees will soon return to work following the resolution of a labor dispute.

The United Auto Workers union approved a new contract Wednesday to give more than 10,000 employees an immediate 10% raise, ending a monthlong strike that the more than 10,000 workers began in October.

"Our members' courageous willingness to strike in order to attain a better standard of living and a more secure retirement resulted in a groundbreaking contract and sets a new standard for workers not only within the UAW but throughout the country," said Chuck Browning, vice president of the UAW, in a press release.


The union ratified the agreement, which contains an $8,500 signing bonus for employees, 20% increases in wages over the lifetime of the contract with 10% this year, the return of cost of living adjustments, lump-sum payments, and enhanced options for retirement, by a margin of 61% to 39%, despite the fact that 55% of union members at the 12 main plants in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas voted to reject the new deal.

"I'm pleased our highly skilled employees are back to work building and supporting the industry-leading products which make our customers more profitable and sustainable," said John May, CEO of John Deere, in a press release. "John Deere's success depends on the success of our people. Through our new collective bargaining agreements, we're giving employees the opportunity to earn wages and benefits that are the best in our industries and are groundbreaking in many ways."


The new agreement's raises were twice those contained in the original offer, which was rejected by 90% of UAW's membership. As part of that tentative agreement, new hires at John Deere would not have been offered the same pension or retirement plans as their predecessors, and the average production worker would have been paid about $72,000 at the end of the contract, compared to roughly $60,000 last year — a small increase given the company's record sales year, in the eyes of some strikers.

The strike coincides with a labor shortage across the United States. Small businesses are struggling to find workers, employees are seeking higher wages, and food prices are steadily increasing due to supply issues.