The vast majority of United Auto Workers union members on Sunday rejected a contract offer from Deere & Co. that would have offered at least 5% raises to workers who make John Deere tractors and other equipment.
“The tentative agreement reached by the UAW and John Deere was rejected tonight by a 90% majority of the membership,” UAW Vice President Chuck Browning said in a statement late Sunday.
Negotiators will return to the bargaining table on Monday to try to hammer out a new agreement covering 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. Wednesday.
Officials at the Moline, Illinois-based company said operations would continue as normal in the meantime. Brad Morris, vice president of labor relations at Deere, expressed disappointment that the offer was rejected.
“After weeks of negotiations, John Deere reached tentative agreements with the UAW that would have significantly improved our industries’ best wages and most comprehensive benefits for our employees,” Morris said. “John Deere remains fully committed to continuing the collective bargaining process to better understand the perspectives of our employees.
The proposed contract would have resulted in immediate increases of 5% for some workers and 6% for others based on their positions within Deere factories. The pact also provided for increases of 3% in 2023 and 2025.
The contract talks come as strong sales this year helped Deere report net income of $4.68 billion for the first nine months of its fiscal year, more than double the $1.993 billion reported a year ago. a year.
The company expects to earn between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion this fiscal year.
The members’ rejection also comes after UAW-represented workers at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia went on strike and rejected three tentative contract offers last spring before ratifying the third offer in a new vote.
Workers ended up with better pay and cheaper health benefits. The strike and the multiple refusals of agreed contracts by union leaders have shown that workers are emboldened by a national shortage of employees that affects almost all industries.
Shares of Deere & Co. were down less than 1% in midday trading Monday.