Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a Deere & Company executive said its second offer to UAW strikers was its best and final offer.
Strikers are still on the picket lines at 12 Deere plants after UAW members this week voted down the second Deere offer by 55%. The strike impacts the production of several types of construction products, including wheel loaders, graders and articulated trucks made at its Davenport, Iowa, plant.
Mark Howze, Deere chief executive officer, told WSJ, “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.
Howze told Fox Business that the company plans to take its case directly to workers in the hopes they will accept the deal.
The WSJ article said that the UAW had no specific response to Howze’s comments. UAW’s posted statement after the vote said, “The strike against John Deere and Company will continue as we discuss next steps with the company. Pickets will continue and any updates will be provided through the local union.”
Howze told the WSJ that “some U.S. employees are working around the clock at some sites.”
Working under what it calls the “next phase” of its Customer Service Continuation Plan, Deere says it will use salaried “employees and others” to enter factories and keep operations going. At the beginning of the strike, Deere said, “Our immediate concern is meeting the needs of our customers, who work in time-sensitive and critical industries such as agriculture and construction.”
After the second offer was rejected by union members, Deere pointed out, “Employees at parts facilities in Denver and Atlanta have voted in support of a separate agreement with identical economic terms.”