Deere warns striking workers not to expect better offer

Deere executives say the company won’t return to the bargaining table with striking workers because it won’t offer a better contract than one they rejected that included immediate 10% raises.

Marc Howze, the chief administrative officer of Deere & Co., said Wednesday that the deal the United Auto Workers union rejected on Tuesday represented the most it could offer and still keep its costs competitive.

Pressure on the union to reach a settlement will mount the longer workers go without pay.

The raises in the latest agreement were twice as big as the ones in the original offer United Auto Workers union members rejected last month, but those raises and improved benefits weren’t enough to end the strike that began on Oct. 14.

The new agreement also would have preserved a pension option for new employees and maintained workers’ no-premium health insurance coverage.

The disputed contract covers more than 10,000 Deere workers at 12 of Deere’s facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas. A separate group of about 100 workers in Colorado and Georgia voted to accept an identical contract.