Deere strikers vote on 3rd contract offer on Wednesday

More than 10,000 striking Deere & Co. workers voted on a new contract offer from the tractor manufacturer on Wednesday, but the third deal is surprisingly similar to a contract that 55% of workers rejected two weeks ago.

The latest proposed contract maintains the immediate 10% increases offered by the last deal and brings what the United Auto Workers union has called modest changes to the details of Deere’s internal incentive pay program for workers.

After the last vote on Nov. 2, Deere officials told the union not to expect the company to offer more money, and Deere largely kept its promise in the latest offer.

In addition to the initial increases, this week’s offer retains the 5% increases that were in the third and fifth years of the six-year agreement and the 3% lump-sum payments in the second, fourth and sixth years of the ‘OK. The offer would also provide a ratification bonus of $ 8,500, preserve a retirement option for new hires, make workers eligible for health insurance sooner, and maintain their premium-free health insurance coverage.

The contract covers 12 factories, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one in Kansas, where the company’s signature green agricultural and construction equipment, John Deere, is manufactured. This is the first major strike in the company since 1986.

What Deere, based in Moline, Ill., Did in this latest offering, which he calls his latest offering, was tweak the complicated formula that he uses to determine which workers receive bonuses based on the fact that their team achieves certain productivity goals. Changes to the formula could make it easier for workers to qualify for incentive pay, but some Deere workers are not eligible for bonuses based on the work they do in the company’s factories and warehouses.

Workers who went on strike on Oct. 14 expected more from Deere, which predicted it would post record annual profits of between $ 5.7 billion and $ 5.9 billion when it releases its earnings report later this week. this month. Initially, more than 90% of workers rejected Deere’s initial offer, but the second vote was much closer after the company essentially doubled the increases it was offering.

Deere workers have had to endure increasingly cold temperatures along the picket lines while trying to cope with the union’s $ 275 weekly strike pay or find another job.

Company officials said they were using salaried employees and other workers to try to keep their factories running during the strike. Other Deere factories around the world are also trying to return to work.

Yet workers at Deere – and other unions – have been encouraged to ask for more this year due to the ongoing worker shortage and because workers did not always feel appreciated while working long hours during the pandemic.

Another group of workers represented by the UAW went on strike earlier this year at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia and won better wages and lower-cost health benefits after rejecting three interim contract offers. Currently, around 1,400 Kellogg workers have been on strike since the start of last month at the company’s four US grain plants.

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