Outsourcing victory empowers Delta Dental Teamsters

Keisha Clayton (left) and Shaune Vaughn (right) are Local 856 members working at Delta Dental

In recent years, Delta Dental has chosen to send work done by union members in California to Georgia and Mexico in order to save money. The result: errors in work that often have to be corrected by Teamsters 856 members in California.

“The company was trying to save money by shipping our jobs to states that pay lower wages, but the quality of work isn’t the same,” said Shaune Vaughn, Assistant Local 856 Business Agent at Delta Dental. “We take pride in our work and we make sure we do a good job.”

Recently, when the company tried to outsource cash receipts work to Pennsylvania, Local 856 members fought back and won.

A few months ago, Shaune and Keisha Clayton, a new Local 856 shop steward, learned Delta Dental management was planning to reorganize the company’s audit department in the commercial division and offer the work to members based on seniority, with one exception — the cash receipts work.

When the members called the company out and said that their Teamsters 856 contract guaranteed that all the work be offered to members in order of seniority, the company announced that instead the jobs would be moved to its Pennsylvania facility.

Shaune and Keisha contacted Susanna Farber, their Teamsters 856 representative.

“We set up a meet and confer with the company,” said Susanna. “During the meeting, we let management know that outsourcing our members’ work should not be an option. We told them that members who were interested in joining the cash receipts team should be offered the work and trained to do the job here.”

The meet and confer process allows unions and management to try to work together to find a solution for work-related issues, and this time, it was a success. The next day, management posted a sign-up sheet allowing members to join the cash receipts team in order of seniority.

For Keisha, the outsourcing fight was her first as a new shop steward. “It felt good to be able to stand up for my co-workers,” she said. “The fact that we were able to sit and talk with management about the issue, and the very next day there was an announcement that the cash receipts work would stay here made me feel empowered.”

Shaune, who has been a shop steward for over 10 years, understands the importance of protecting bargaining unit work. “We have to protect our jobs,” said Shaune. “We have families to feed.”

Both members believe that being union members gave them the ability to stand up and fight back.

“It’s important to have union representation because there’s strength in numbers,” explained Keisha. “When there are more voices, management tends to listen. That’s why I’m very proud to be a Teamster.”

Teamsters 856 has made fighting outsourcing a priority. Learn more at www.StandWith856.com.