More than 10,000 Deer & Co employees are voting on a contract offer on behalf of the company on Wednesday, but the deal has “slight” changes from a previous rejected offer.
According to the Associated Press, the previous deal was rejected by 55 percent of workers. This new contract offer immediately exceeds the previous deal offer by 10 percent. It also changes the details of Deere’s internal incentive pay program for workers that the United Auto Workers union called “modest”.
Deere officials said it is not expected that the company will give more money to the union after the last vote on November 2. Deere has mostly stuck to that promise in this new proposal.
With the initial increase, the offer maintains a 5 percent increase that was a 3 percent lump-sum payout in the third and fifth years of the six-year deal and 3 percent in the second, fourth and sixth years of the deal. The offer also has an $8,500 ratification bonus, gives new employees a pension option, makes workers increasingly eligible for health insurance, and keeps their no-premium health insurance coverage.
The contract covers 12 plants, seven in Iowa, four in Illinois, and one in Kansas where the company’s equipment is made. This is the company’s first major strike since 1986.
The company is calling it its last offer. What it did is slightly changed the formula it uses to decide which workers get bonuses based on whether their teams have hit certain productivity goals. The changes could allow workers to qualify for incentive pay. However, there are some Deer employees who may not be eligible due to working in the factories and warehouses of the company.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Workers who went on strike on October 14 have stayed for more than Deere, which predicts it will report a record annual profit of between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion when it releases its earnings report later this month . Initially, more than 90 percent of workers disapproved of Deere’s initial offer, but the second vote was much closer after the company essentially doubled down on the increase.
Deere workers have faced increasingly cold temperatures along picket lines while trying to get by on the union’s $275 in weekly strike pay or to find another job.
Company officials have said they are using salaried workers and other employees to keep their factories running during the strike. Other Deere plants globally are also working to take the job.
Still, Deere workers and other unions have been encouraged to ask for more this year because of the ongoing labor shortage and the long working hours during the pandemic that workers have not always felt appreciated.
Another group of UAW-represented workers went on strike at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia earlier this year seeking better pay and lower-cost health benefits after rejecting three temporary contract offers. Currently, about 1,400 Kellogg’s workers have been on strike at the company’s four US grain plants since early last month.