‘Last, best, and final offer’ from Deere to UAW members
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - As negotiations between Deere & Co. and United Auto Workers has stretched over 80 days, Deere spokesperson Jen Hartmann said they have presented their final offer.
“The offer that was made in the second tentative agreement with industry-leading wages and benefits, healthcare and retirement is Deere’s, last, best, and final offer,” Hartmann said.
On Tuesday, 55% of United Auto Workers voted against the proposed contract. Hartmann says that’s encouraging though since the first offer was rejected by 90% of workers. “It’s an incredibly positive step.... employees saw that Deere heard their concerns and responded to that in the second agreement. And it’s our hopes that as we continue to clarify what’s included in the new contract, that will continue to move forward progress, and have this contract ratified sooner than later.”
Some UAW members tell TV6 they want to see language within the contract clarified, and others still want to see larger wage increases. Deere however says wages will increase by 10 percent immediately, then after that will alternate between 3 percent and five percent raises each year until the end of the contract.
Seven out of the 11 local unions voted in favor of the contract according to Hartmann. She goes on to say, “we’re all committed to seeing this contract get ratified, get everyone back to work, and to continue to meet the needs that our customers depend on us for. I think that’s you would find that for the UAW members who are striking, and those of us that are here.”
Hartmann said conversations are continuing with UAW to see what the next steps are, but she emphasizes the second proposed contract was “highly competitive” and it’s their hope that the unions will vote yes on the agreement after speaking directly with local unions.
The proposed contract would give Deere employees raises twice as big as the ones in the original offer UAW members rejected last month. It also included free healthcare, which Hartmann said is practically unheard of in 2021.
Union officials say the tentative agreement also included a retirement bonus for those who have worked at Deere & Co. for 10 or more years. Union workers who work between 10 and 24 years will receive a $37,500 bonus while those who work 25+ years will receive $50,000, per details released Sunday.
“We are still on strike,” Brian Rothenberg, director of public relations for UAW International, said. “The elected bargaining team Vice President Browning and the UAW team continue to discuss next steps. The UAW appreciates the community support of our members on the picket line.”
Copyright 2021 KWQC. All rights reserved.