Negotiations Continue Between Deere, Union

Deere workers last week went on strike for the first time in 35 years.
Work stopped at 12:01 a.m. Thursday at 14 U.S. plants as 10,100 U.S. production workers represented by the United Auto Workers union walked off the job. Deere and union negotiators met Monday for the first time since the strike began.

Deere workers on Oct. 10 voted down a tentative deal that would have provided pay raises and lump-sum bonuses over six years and enhanced benefits for retirees.

The striking workers make up more than one-third of Deere’s 28,100 employees in the U.S. About 4,000 production workers at non-union plants or represented by other unions remain on the job, the company said. Deere has about 14,000 management and administrative employees.

While UAW-represented workers are off the job, the company’s contingency plans focus on maintaining distribution of parts and other services to support farmers and contractors using Deere equipment in their farm fields or at construction sites, a person familiar with the matter said.

Deere’s wages and benefits are near the top of the equipment industry, according to analysts, accounting for about 15 percent of Deere’s cost of goods.

Under terms of Deere’s tentative deal with the UAW, workers would have received wage raises of 5 to 6 percent this year, based on their job duties; 3 percent raises in 2023 and 2025; and lump-sum bonuses in three other years, according to a summary from the union. The deal also would have provided enhanced benefits for retirees and restored cost-of-living wage adjustments that had been part of previous Deere contracts.

Workers overwhelmingly voted down the contract on Oct. 10.

Source: Wall Street Journal