MOLINE, IL—United Auto Workers union members appear to be heading closer to a strike Oct. 12 after rejecting a contract offer from Deere & Co. over the weekend that would have given at least 5 percent raises to staff that build John Deere tractors and other equipment.
Negotiators returned to the bargaining table Monday to try and work out a new deal to cover more than 10,000 workers at 14 plants across the United States, including seven in Iowa and four in Illinois. The union set a strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. Oct. 13.
“The tentative agreement reached by the UAW and John Deere was rejected this evening by…90 percent of the membership,” UAW vice president Chuck Browning said in a statement Sunday night.Deere officials said operations will continue as normal in the meantime. Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations for Deere, expressed disappointment that the offer was rejected.
“After weeks of negotiations, John Deere reached tentative agreements with the UAW that would have made the best wages and most comprehensive benefits in our industries significantly better for our employees,” Morris says. “John Deere remains fully committed to continuing the collective bargaining process in an effort to better understand our employees’ viewpoints.”
The proposed contract would have delivered immediate 5 percent raises for some workers and 6 percent raises for others depending on their positions within Deere’s factories. The pact also called for 3 percent raises in 2023 and 2025.
The contract talks come as strong sales this year helped Deere report $4.68 billion net income for the first nine months of its fiscal year, which was more than double the $1.993 billion it reported a year ago. The company is expecting to earn between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion this fiscal year.