Deere & Co. and the United Auto Workers have agreed to a third potential contract.
After UAW members in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas voted down two previous agreements over the last month, representatives for the company and the union met again Thursday and Friday. According to a UAW news release, the two sides reached an agreement that includes “modest modifications” over the most recent rejected contract offer.
Union members will vote on the contract Wednesday. UAW spokesperson Brian Rothenberg said Friday that he was not sure when members will be given details about the contract.
“The UAW will present the company’s offer for ratification and, as has been the case throughout the bargaining process, will support the outcome,” he said.
Rothenberg said the latest agreement is Deere’s “last, best and final offer.” Deere spokesperson Jennifer Hartmann declined to comment Friday night, but she previously said that the company would not increase its offer above the one members rejected Nov. 2.
About 10,000 UAW members have been on strike since Oct. 14.
About 90 percent of members rejected the first contract proposed by the union and the company on Oct. 10, saying its offer of 5 to 6 percent raises was inadequate in a period when Deere was posting record profits.
The second contract offer would have raised wages by 10 percent, boosted retirement benefits and preserved the pension program that the company previously proposed to eliminate for new workers. Fifty-five percent of UAW members rejected that contract, continuing the strike.
If the company declares an impasse, labor lawyers say, Deere can offer the contract to any workers willing to cross the picket line. But the union could challenge Deere’s declaration before the National Labor Relations Board, kicking off a potentially long, contentious court battle that could force the two sides back to the bargaining table.
Source: Des Moines Register