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John Deere sees record profits in 4th quarter despite UAW strike

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John Deere

John Deere

MOLINE, Illinois (KWWL) -- Despite union workers being on strike for weeks, Deere & Company saw record profits in this most recent quarter. 

In a news release Wednesday, the ag giant said $1.283 billion for the fourth quarter ended October 31, 2021, or $4.12 per share, compared with net income of $757 million, or $2.39 per share, for the quarter ended November 1, 2020. For fiscal year 2021, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $5.963 billion, or $18.99 per share, compared with $2.751 billion, or $8.69 per share, in fiscal 2020.

“Deere’s strong fourth-quarter and full-year performance was delivered by our dedicated employees, dealers, and suppliers throughout the world, who have helped safely maintain our operations and serve customers,” said John C. May, chairman and chief executive officer.

The numbers come after a month long strike from some 10,000 United Auto Workers wrapped up mid-November. Workers walked off the job October 14th after a new contract couldn't be reached between the company and the union. Rank and file members with the UAW ratified a new contract on November 17th.

The contract includes an $8,500 signing bonus; a 20% increase in wages over the contract's lifetime with 10% this year; return of Cost of Living adjustments; three 3% lump sum payments; enhanced options for retirement and enhanced CIPP performance benefits. Healthcare remains the same for the life of the agreement, according to a press release from the union.

Paul Iversen, a labor educator at the University of Iowa, spoke to KWWL after the vote, saying this is an example of collective bargaining meeting its essential purpose. 

"It is a victory for the Deere workers because they stood up for themselves. And for future generations, and they got a much better contract than they would have gotten without a strike," Iversen said.

Despite repeat criticism on wages and healthcare, Deere has stood by its claims that they provide industry leading benefits. 

“Last week’s ratification of a 6-year agreement with the UAW brings our highly skilled employees back to work building the finest products in our industries," May said. "The agreement shows our ongoing commitment to delivering best-in-class wages and benefits.”

Deere & Co. expects it could make as much as $7 billion for this fiscal year. 

“Looking ahead, we expect demand for farm and construction equipment to continue benefiting from positive fundamentals, including favorable crop prices, economic growth, and increased investment in infrastructure,” May said. “At the same time, we anticipate supply-chain pressures will continue to pose challenges in our industries. We are working closely with our suppliers to address these issues and ensure that our customers can deliver essential food and infrastructure more profitably and sustainably.”