Northern California Delta Dental Workers Reach Tentative Contract Agreement
About 1,000 Northern California Delta Dental Plan clerical employees, who have been on strike for three weeks, yesterday reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The proposed contract represents the third offer considered by the workers, represented by the Teamsters Union Local 856, after their contact expired May 31 (Colliver, San Francisco, 8/9). In July, the workers rejected a contract proposal that would have provided an 18.5% wage increase over four years, with an immediate 6% raise after the workers approved the contract. In addition, the proposal would have clarified a new policy that allows clerical employees who have worked 40 hours in a week to earn overtime pay for Saturday shifts (California Healthline, 7/30). Under the latest contract proposal, the workers would receive an 18.5% raise over the next four years. The proposal also would extend their workweek from 37.5 hours to 40 hours. Under the proposal, Delta Dental would add a Tuesday-through-Saturday shift and would cap the workers' dental coverage at $2,000 per year, which would mark the first time that the company has placed a limit on coverage. Michael McLaughlin, the union's secretary, said, "The company finally responded with an offer we believe should be voted on by the membership." Jeff Album, a spokesperson for Delta Dental, said, "We definitely made some movement to address what we understood were concerns by the union members. At the same time, we also held strong on the issues that allow us to compete and allow us to tell our customers we can still keep a lid on costs." Album added, "We need them to vote on [the agreement] before I feel too good about it." The workers will vote on the agreement on Monday, the Chronicle reports (San Francisco, 8/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.