Deere workers end strike, approve 6-year contract

Union employees at farm equipment maker Deere have put down their picket signs and are heading back to work.

A majority of Deere's striking workers voted late Wednesday to approve a modified contract - putting to end a near six-week strike.

Two previous contract offers had been voted down.

The new agreement, according to the United Auto Workers, which represented the striking employees, comes with substantial gains for the workers.

The ratified agreement includes an $8,500 signing bonus and 20% increase in wages over the lifetime of the contract with 10% this year, according to the UAW's website.

Deere said last week it made "modest modifications" to a previous proposal. The company did not elaborate on what those modifications were.

The settlement is a relief to the agriculture industry that is already grappling with parts shortages and a tight labor market.

Shares of Deere rose in early Thursday trading.

The strike gained national attention at time when workers are flexing their muscles amid a labor shortage that is driving wages higher.

Job openings are at a record high and so is the number of workers quitting their jobs.

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