More than 10,000 John Deere workers will remain on strike. Earlier, the United Auto Workers working for the tractor manufacturer rejected the latest contract offer given them.
This includes an immediate 10% raise in worker pay and an $8,5000 ratification bonus, As a result, a company executive said that it was their final offer and that the company is done negotiating.
John Deere Workers Voted To Reject Proposal 55% to 45%
The United Auto Workers issued a statement that said unionized John Deere workers rejected the contract offer by a margin of 55% to 45%.
In contrast, the union vote that authorized the strike last October had a much wider margin. “The strike against John Deere & Company will continue as we discuss next steps with the company,” the union added.
However, John Deere’s management isn’t too keen on continuing negotiations. Chief administrative officer Marc Howze said in an interview that they already gave “our best and final offer” in the rejected proposal.
Howze also said that the company feels satisfied with the narrow margin on the vote. “There was maybe a sense that because we were able to reach an agreement as fast as we could, maybe there’s something left on the table,” he said. He clarified that “well, there’s not.”
Proposal Rejected By John Deere Workers
The proposed six-year agreement John Deere submitted last week included a 10% raise scheduled this year. It also kicked in 5% increases in the third and fifth years.
For the second, fourth, and sixth years, workers would receive a lump sum payment that’s equivalent to 3% of their annual pay. A signing of $8,500 per worker is also part of the package.
Howze decried that the union still rejected it. “Even though it would have created greater competitive challenges within our industries, we had faith in our employees’ ability to sharpen our competitive edge,” Howze wrote in a statement.
Howze said that John Deere would have invested a total of $3.5 billion. This would have gone straight to employees and to the community by extension.
Because the union rejected the offer, he said that the company will return to its plan of using salaried employees to run its factories instead of striking workers.
“With the rejection of the agreement covering our Midwest facilities, we will execute the next phase of our Customer Service Continuation Plan,” a company statement said.
2021 A Year Of High Profile Worker Strikes
The job walkout, now on its third week, covers 10,100 John Deere workers in 12 facilities. The employees are part of a disruption in the labor market that pushed for strikes over better pay and benefits.
Earlier, workers at Kellogg’s, Nabisco, and Kaiser Permanente all went on strike this year. Other workers are going on strike over vaccine mandates and issues involving pensions and benefits.
With a labor shortage engulfing the United States, workers are becoming emboldened to ask for a bigger share of the profits. During the pandemic, corporations are raking in massive profits.
Meanwhile, labor leaders see an opportunity to demand bigger pay and improved benefits after decades of giving in to outsourcing and automation.
Watch the WQAD News 8 video reporting that a John Deere spokesperson says rejected contract is ‘last, best and final offer’ for union workers:
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