OTTUMWA — Union workers have voted down the latest offer from Deere & Company, meaning their strike will continue.

A statement from the United Auto Workers union Tuesday night confirmed the results, with 55% of workers voting to reject the offer.

Workers are being told to show up for their strike duty, as the picket lines will continue. About 10,100 workers, including almost 600 in Ottumwa, have been on strike for the last two weeks.

Deere & Company, the formal name for the company that makes the famous green John Deere tractors, said it will advance to the next phase of its customer service continuation plan.

A union spokesperson said talks will continue with the company. A statement from Deere did not reference the company's plans. Rather, their statement talked about what the proposed offer would have done, in their view.

Workers of separate union that covers employees at Deere parts facilities in Denver and Atlanta approved what the company said was a similar agreement "with identical economic terms."

"This investment was the right one for Deere, our employees, and everyone we serve together," said Marc Howze, the chief administrative officer for Deere. "Even though it would have created greater competitive challenges within our industries, we had faith in our employees' ability to sharpen our competitive edge."

The proposed agreement called for an immediate 10% raise for all employees, along with an $8,500 ratification bonus. There would have been additional 5% raises in years three and five of the agreement, and 3% lump-sum payments in the second, fourth and sixth years. Additionally, the proposed agreement included cost of living adjustments built in to account for inflation, which would have adjusted wages every three months. Over six years, the union projected members would see a 30% or more increase in their wages.

On the wage end, it was a significant change from the agreement that union workers rejected by a 90% margin in October. That deal called for an immediate raise of 5% or 6%, depending on the worker, with 3% raises in 2023 and 2025.

Additionally, the new proposal made improvements to the retirement plan, and added new paid paternal leave, autism care and other benefits.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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