Agricultural equipment builder Deere & Co. has reached a tentative, six-year labor agreement with the United Auto Workers union. If approved by the union members, the new contract would cover approximately 9,500 Deere workers enrolled in 15 local unions, plus 17,000 retirees.

Deere Co. Worldwide Agriculture and Turf division president David Everitt stated: "Both parties worked hard to develop an agreement that meets the needs of employees while recognizing the nature of Deere's competitive challenges around the world."

Terms of the agreement were not released. It will be presented to the workers for ratification

Negotiations on the new contract began between Deere and the UAW late in August. The expiring contract went into effect October 1, 2003, and expired at the end of September.

The UAW represents workers at the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, IL; John Deere Seeding Group/Cylinder Division in Moline, IL; John Deere North American Parts Distribution Center in Milan, IL; John Deere Davenport (IA) Works; John Deere Des Moines (IA) Works; John Deere Dubuque (IA) Works; John Deere Ottumwa (IA) Works; John Deere Waterloo (IA) Works; John Deere Engine Works (Waterloo, IA); John Deere Waterloo Tractor, Cab Assembly Operations; John Deere Product Engineering Center (Waterloo, IA); John Deere Foundry (Waterloo, IA); John Deere Coffeyville Works (Kansas), and parts depots in Atlanta and Denver.

UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles thanked the UAW-Deere National Negotiating Committee for its work on the proposed agreement. "We've worked hard to get a tentative agreement that serves our members' best interests and the interests of the communities where we work and live," Settles said. "We very much appreciate the support of our members, who have been essential throughout the process."