DAKOTA CITY, Neb. – Union members voted to a approve a new five-year labor contract with Tyson Fresh Meats beef processing plant in Dakota City, Neb., according to a news release. More than 3,500 workers will get raises.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 222 ratified the deal Jan. 11. The agreement takes effect immediately. The new contract includes pay increases of $1.60 per hour for production workers, eventually moving top production pay to $18.15 per hour in processing and $16.80 per hour in slaughter, according to the release.

“We believe the new contract will benefit our team members and help ensure the continued success of the Dakota City beef complex,” said Bruce Pautsch, vice president of human resources operations for Tyson Fresh Meats. “We’ve worked closely with Local 222 over the years on programs that support our Dakota City employees, including workplace ergonomics and safety. We will continue to work together, through initiatives such as our enhanced maintenance training program, to help our people succeed on the job.”

New workers will have the opportunity to earn more money if they work all scheduled hours and comply with work- safety requirements. New beef-processing workers will start at $13.92 per hour, while beef-slaughter workers will start at $14.10 per hour. New maintenance workers can earn as much as $17.55 per hour if they meet the same requirements, according to the company.

The new contract also includes pay increases for some maintenance positions, moving top maintenance pay over the course of the contract to $19.95 per hour. An enhanced maintenance-training program is also being implemented at the plant as part of the deal.