Thousands of Deere & Company employees were preparing to stage a strike, only days after unanimously opposing a six-year labor agreement reached between United Auto Workers negotiators and the tractor manufacturer in negotiations.
On Wednesday evening, Deere representatives informed FOX Business they were still in the process of negotiating a settlement and hoped to reach an agreement. The UAW claimed there had been no new developments and that the strike deadline had been extended to 11:59 p.m.
After weeks of negotiations, the world's largest farm equipment maker and the UAW struck an agreement on salaries and other benefits earlier this month. However, 90% of the union's workers voted against the agreement.
Deere's offer, which would have increased compensation by 5% for some employees and 6% for others while also improving retirement benefits for existing employees, was rejected by more than 90% of the workers at 14 sites across the United States on Monday.
The Des Moines Register reported that several Deere employees from Iowa said their managers had advised them not to report for work on Wednesday.
In the past, Deere employees were willing to make concessions on certain benefits, and they are now seeking some of those benefits back at a time when the company is doing "very well financially" and labor shortages are still prevalent throughout the industry, a source familiar with negotiations with the company disclosed.
According to Deere, which has approximately 27,500 employees in the U.S. and Canada, business operations would continue as usual in the near future.
The strike is scheduled to take place in the heart of the corn and soybean harvest season in the U.S., at a time when farmers are having difficulty finding components for tractors.
For the past 35 years, the agricultural equipment manufacturing situated in Moline, Illinois, has been free of labor unrest. However, with labor shortages affecting the entire country and Deere raking in record profits, workers believe the moment has come to stand firm and demand better compensation.
"If we take a stand here for ourselves, our families... it's going to make a difference for the whole manufacturing sector. Let us not be intimidated," Deere employee Chris Laursen said in quotes by Reuters.