No , I don’t know all the details, I’m not an insider, but I have over twenty years experience negotiating labor contracts when it comes to pay and benefits. I have a pretty good idea of the above strategies.
The last company offer would have provided an hourly rate for the highest level union job at a rate equal to the US median household income. Overall its pay levels are very competitive for Illinois and the US for that matter. The benefits package by today’s standards is generous, especially the company offer to continue its pension plans and to give new hires a choice between pension and a 401(k) plan. Keep in mind when a company such a Deere give a raise it also increases its social security taxes, it’s pension and 401k) costs and any costs related to pay.
When times are good for a company, when inflation is on the horizon, when there is rhetoric about fair share and greedy companies, workers tend to seek the largest piece of the pie they can get. But that can be short sighted, too much of a good thing. The auto industry is a good example. Changes in pay and benefits create compounding costs and liabilities that don’t go away when times are not so good, when competition, especially foreign competition heats up. A fair share of the pie certainly, but unions and their members can be greedy too, often to their own detriment.
The proposal for a new six-year contract was voted down by a margin of 55% to 45%, the auto workers union said. It would have given more than 10,000 Deere workers on strike an immediate 10% pay raise and an $8,500 bonus for each worker if the deal had been ratified Tuesday. The company also offered 5% raises in 2023 and 2025. For the other three years of the contract, Deere employees would receive lump-sum bonuses amounting to 3% of their pay.WSJ 11-3-21
In the contract workers rejected Tuesday, Deere also agreed to provide lump-sum bonuses to employees’ pensions and backed off an earlier attempt to enroll future employees in a 401(k)-style pension program. In the future, new Deere hires would have had a choice of enrolling in the company’s tradi-tional pension program for hourly workers that guarantees income levels or the 401(k).WSJ 11-3-21 Write to Bob Tita at firstname.lastname@example.org
The contract also promises lump sum payments to workers when they retire. Employees who stay with the company for 10 to 24 years will get $37,500. Workers who stay at least 25 years will get $50,000. In addition, Deere agreed to put another five-figure sum in an account for workers when they retire. If workers approve the new contract, the company will give employees an extra $2,000 for each year they’ve worked at the company. A 25-year worker will see an extra $50,000.Des Moines Register 10-31-21