On October 7, 2004, the membership of the Delta Dental Unit of Local 724 walked off their job on went on strike. 

The Delta Dental Committee consisting of Region 1-C Servicing Rep John Legg, Unit Chair Rhonda Cain, Bargaining Chair Jane Gibbard, along with Rhonda Morse, M J Warren, and Jennifer Ulrich from the bargaining committee had worked tirelessly to bring an equitable and fair resolution for a new contract.  After bringing an offer that was not acceptable, the membership voted overwhelming to conduct a work stoppage.  Because there were issues unresolved on the table that didn’t include just wages and benefits, the strike was declared an”Unfair Labor Practice” strike.

By declaring the strike as such, it still allowed the company to hire scabs if they so choose, but the replacement workers would not be able to permanently replace the strikers upon resolution to the work stoppage.

The Delta Unit was well prepared for the work stoppage and had built their Unit strike infrastructure accordingly.  Under the direction of Strike Chair, Claudia Shawa, the membership was well prepared when the decision was made.

As with many worksite issues like this one, the show of solidarity was tremendous from the Lansing area unions, the Region and the community.


Throughout the ordeal, the committee continued to meet among themselves.  On October 26, 2004 the committee went back into contract talks with the company.  After much deliberation, the committee was able to bring back a fair, respectful and equitable contract to the membership.
On Saturday, October 31st the Delta Dental membership ratified a new collective bargaining agreement of three years by a 92% margin.

The courage and conviction shown by the Delta Dental membership, , who stood united and showed strength throughout this ordeal is a testament to this membership many of whom faced hardships as single parents.  

As a side note, the next contract was resolved without any need to call for a work stoppage in 2007.  However in late 2009, approximately 72 bargaining unit jobs were transferred to the Delta Dental Farmington Hills location. 

Many of the members who stood up for their dignity are now members of another UAW Local Union.  However the legacy they left, along with others before them who went on strike are forever interwoven into the fabric of the UAW Local 724 history.  We all stand indebted to them for their strength, courage, and pride as they fought the fight for justice, fairness, and dignity.