Deere & Company and the UAW have reached a third tentative contract agreement to end a strike by 10,000-plus UAW members that has been ongoing for more than a month, with the union to schedule a third vote after two previous offers failed, according to media reports.
The UAW says Deere has "made a last, best and final offer to the UAW negotiating team that includes modest modifications to the last tentative agreement."
UAW members voted down the last agreement ratification vote November 2nd, with 55% saying no. The first offer was voted down by 90% of members, prompting the strike on October 14th.
After the second vote, Mark Howze, Deere chief executive officer, told the Wall Street Journal, "There's not more bargaining to be done. We've done all we can do. We don't have a better offer to provide. This is it." Howze went on to say its second, now rejected, offer would have cost Deere an additional $3.5 billion over the contract life.
The Waterloo Courier, based in Waterloo, Iowa, home of Deere agricultural tractor and engine plants, reported that member reception to the third offer may be frosty. UAW members on the picket line complained the offer wasn't much more than the company's second offer.
Deere called that second offer, which is the bulk of the third offer, "groundbreaking." It went on to say no other UAW-U.S. major manufacturer had the following:
- Cost-of-living adjustments every three months for inflation.
- Company-funded defined benefit pension plan and defined contribution plan (401k) to "create more security in retirement."
- An entirely new cash balance savings to provide more retirement income and flexibility.