MOLINE, Illinois (KWWL) -- The negotiations committee for the United Auto Workers union returned to John Deere HQ Monday to work on another contract agreement after a proposal failed Sunday.
UAW Vice President Chuck Browning said 90% of its membership rejected the proposed agreement and that a strike deadline was set for 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, October 13th.
Reporting from the Des Moines Register shows workers urging other members to vote no in various Iowa cities. The contract that failed called for some wage increases and better benefits at the cost of those who would be hired after November 1st.
Workers are expected to report to work as normal until that strike deadline, according to a newsletter from UAW Local 838 in Waterloo.
“We are working with the company on a plan to get our members out of the plant safely at that time if we have not reached a new tentative agreement,” the newsletter reads.
If an agreement is not reached, the union expects picket duty to occur at 7 a.m. Thursday. The newsletter also urges members to conduct themselves in a professional manner moving forward, saying they'll need a workplace to come back to. It also suggests employees remove any personal property from the factory if that strike occurs.
Late Monday, John Deere released an update offering guidance on the healthcare coverage in the tentative agreement.
There hasn't been a strike at Deere since 1986. Former Deere operations manager turned state legislator Representative Dave Williams lived through that strike. Williams said it was a stressful, difficult time for all in the Cedar Valley as the ag giant has wide effects on the local economy. While things seems stressful, Williams doesn't believe a strike will happen.
"The leadership from two parties will figure out what has to happen, but if the worst that happens, which none of us want, it's not good for anybody. If there is a dispute, I expect it to be fairly short,” Williams said.
The legislator added that the UAW was a big part of his identity while he was at Deere. Williams says he supports collective bargaining and oragnized labor, adding he believes it built the middle class.
Sunday's vote in Waterloo saw 2,707 members vote, of which 2,518 opposed the contract. Negotiations have been ongoing since August.