Most workers at Deere & Co. rejected a contract offer Tuesday that would have given them 10% raises and decided to remain on strike in the hopes of securing a better deal. The raises in the new agreement reached over the weekend were twice as big as the ones in the original offer United Auto Workers union members rejected last month, but those raises and improved benefits weren’t enough to end the strike that began on Oct. 14.
The new agreement also would have provided an $8,500 ratification bonus, preserved a pension option for new employees, made workers eligible for health insurance sooner and maintained their no-premium health insurance coverage. The disputed contract covers more than 10,000 Deere workers at 12 facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas. A smaller group of about 100 workers at two Deere facilities in Colorado and Georgia voted to accept an identical deal.
The union said 55% of its members at the 12 main plants voted against this latest contract offer Tuesday. Last month, 90% of union members also rejected a proposed contract that included immediate 5% raises for some workers and 6% for others, and 3% raises in 2023 and 2025.