The UAW had reached an interim agreement on a new six-year contact with the company two weeks ago, only to see how 90% of grassroots union members rejected it in a ratification vote that concluded this past Sunday. . Union negotiators and management talked Wednesday night trying to reach a new deal, but were unable to do so.
However, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the number of strikes this year has decreased compared to the same period in 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted labor markets.
Good times at Deere
The strike at Deere & Co., the formal name of the company popularly known as John Deere, closes operations at 11 factories in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas and at three distribution centers in Georgia, Illinois and Colorado. The company manufactures both agricultural and construction equipment. Demand for their products has been strong.
The company said in August that it saw orders grow for the rest of this fiscal year which will last until November 1 and until the first fiscal quarter of next year.
The contract refused for UAW members to John Deere would have given them immediate base salary increases of 5% to 6%, and additional salary increases later in the contract that could have increased the average salary by about 20%. during the six years of the rejected agreement. It also eliminated a second lower salary level for some of the company’s more recent hires, which allowed them to pay the salary of other UAW members.
The average Deere production worker earned about $ 60,000 last year and could end that contract by earning about $ 72,000.
But unlike the last two UAW contracts at Deere, which were negotiated in difficult times for the company, these negotiations took place at a particularly good time for the company.
This could have made it more difficult to reach an agreement that would accept membership. The current financial success at Deere may have led some union members to believe they deserve an even better package than what was turned down, especially after less lucrative offers in the past.
The company has also been hiring for the past year, as jobs represented by unions at Deere have increased by 19% since November 1, 2020.
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