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John Deere says the contract turned down to workers was its final offer

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John Deere says the contract turned down to workers was its final offer

A day after workers at farm equipment maker Deere & Co rejected a second contract offer, the company on Wednesday said the offer was its best and last offer and it had no plans to resume bargaining.

The rejection of the contract by about 10,000 workers sparked a strike that began in mid-October, when workers based primarily in Iowa and Illinois voted for an earlier settlement negotiated by the United Automobile Workers’ Union.

The company confirmed its position in an email after it was reported by Bloomberg. A UAW spokesman said only that the union’s negotiating team was continuing to “discuss next steps”.

Jose, a senior Deere official, said in a statement Tuesday night that the agreement would include “an additional $3.5 billion of investment in our employees and, by extension, our communities.”

“With the negation of the agreement covering our Midwest facilities, we will execute the next phase of our customer service continuity plan,” the statement continued, using Deere’s salaried employees to run facilities where workers are striking. .

Many workers complained that the pay increases and retirement benefits included in the initial offer were too weak, as the company – known for its distinctive green and yellow John Deere products – was on pace to record nearly $6 billion in annual profits. Was.

According to a summary submitted by the union, the wage increase under the recent proposal would have been 10 per cent this year and 5 per cent in the third and fifth years. During each even year of the six-year contract, the employees will receive a lump sum payment equal to 3 percent of their annual salary.

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This was a 5 or 6 percent increase in wage increases proposed earlier this year, depending on a worker’s labor grade, and up to 3 percent in 2023 and 2025.

The most recent proposal includes traditional pension benefits for future employees and a post-retirement health care fund of $2,000 per year of service, neither of which was included in the initial agreement.

Chris Lawson, A worker at the John Deere plant in Otumawa, Iowa, who until recently was its local president, said he voted in favor of the new agreement after voting to reject the previous one.

“We have the support of the community, we have the support of workers across the country,” said Mr. Lawerson. “If we turn down a 20 percent increase over a six-year period, with enough leverage in our pension plan, I’m afraid we’ll lose it.”

But Mr. Lawson said he still has concerns about the ambiguity of the company’s commitment to improving its worker incentive plan, and such concern weighed heavily on his coworkers, 55 percent of whom declined the new contract. Voted for.

Another Iowa-based activist, Matt Pickrell, said some coworkers who were skeptical of the second offer expressed a desire for a larger initial increase than the 10 percent the company was offering.

Mr Pickrell said he, too, opposed the initial agreement, but voted in favor of the more recent agreement because of improvements in retirement benefits.

The halt in Deere was part of an uptick in strikes across the country last month, involving more than 1,000 workers at Kellogg’s and more than 2,000 hospital workers in New York.

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Overall, more than 25,000 workers quit in October, compared to an average of about 10,000 in the past three months, according to data collected by Cornell University researchers.

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