Deere employees reject contract offer, will stay on strike

Workers at Deere & Co. have rejected a contract offer that would have given them 10% raises

Workers at Deere & Co. rejected a contract offer Tuesday that would have given them 10% raises and decided to remain on strike in the hopes of securing a better deal.

The raises in the new agreement reached over the weekend were twice as big as the ones in the original offer United Auto Workers union members rejected last month, but those raises and improved benefits weren’t enough to end the strike that began on Oct. 14. The new agreement also would have provided an $8,500 ratification bonus, preserved a pension option for new employees, made workers eligible for health insurance sooner and maintained their no-premium health insurance coverage.

The disputed contract covers more than 10,000 Deere workers at 14 facilities in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.

The union said 55% of its members voted against this latest contract offer Tuesday.

Last month, 90% of union members also rejected a proposed contract that included immediate 5% raises for some workers and 6% for others, and 3% raises in 2023 and 2025.

Tuesday’s vote means that the first major strike since 1986 will continue at the maker of agriculture and construction equipment. Currently, many companies are dealing with worker shortages, making workers feel emboldened to demand more.

Sales have been strong at the Moline, Illinois-based company this year as the economy continued to recover from the pandemic. Deere has predicted it will report record profits this year between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion on strong sales.

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