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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

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Bellflower Dental Group under fire for controversial policies

A+row+of+people+protesting+with+signs+on+the+sidewalk+of+Rosecrans+Ave.
Jonathan Diaz
A row of people protesting with signs on the sidewalk of Rosecrans Ave.

Bellflower Dental Group located at the Rosecrans Plaza in Bellflower is under fire from dental workers after a workers union abandoned the establishment which in turn caused the owner to make a proposal that some see as controversial and unfair.

Proposals that the owner wanted to enforce were but were not limited to reducing sick days from five to three per year, having the workers’ pay 50 percent on a lesser health care plan from the previous 15 percent and denying holiday pay.

The strike has been going on since Aug. 16. Tim Fraley, a business representative for Teamster, mentioned the owner wanted to reduce vacation time and get rid of the pension entirely.

Reducing the vacation time may vary from worker to worker. For example, if you were working 10 years with the company your vacation time would’ve gone from five weeks to four weeks.

After all of these proposals, the owner only wanted to offer the workers 25 cents more an hour which in turn comes out to an extra $10 a week.

It was also said that the owner received COVID-19 hazard pay for the workers. The establishment is allegedly hiding the truth of why some workers aren’t working at the office at this time according to some protesters.

The establishment deflects by saying to people who ask that the building is undergoing repairs or even sending some customers to other dental offices the owner owns.

After a few months of protesting the proposals, the dental workers are feeling the effects of the strike.

Take 52-year-old Gracie Menchaca who worked as a medical receptionist and 61-year-old Sandra Peña who worked as a registered dental assistant.

Both Menchaca and Peña have been working at Bellflower Dental Group since the early 90s but are now forced to live different lives than they did before the strike.

“I had a $1,500 apartment I was renting but since the strike, I was forced to move in with my brother,” stated Peña.

Menchaca took a job as an Uber Eats driver the same week the strike began, “I was already living paycheck to paycheck before the strike,” Menchaca said.

Menchaca is a single mother of a college student at the University of California, Irvine. She used up the last of her savings to pay not only her bills but also her daughter’s bills and tuition.

The two dental workers mentioned how the business is treating the protesters harshly both verbally and financially.

They also stated that while striking one of the managers would come out and body-shame the women protesting, but the worst thing the dental company has done was calling tow trucks and towing the cars of protestors.

According to Menchaca and Peña, the managers called a tow truck company from Fullerton to have the vehicle towed and force the protesters to pay about $500 to get their vehicle back.

The manager will also allegedly go out of their way to take pictures and point out what cars they want to be towed.

When asked about seeing a potential end to the strike it sounds like the strike will continue throughout Dec.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Diaz, Staff Writer
Jonathan Diaz is a staff writer for Talon Marks mainly covering sports. Outside of news reporting he enjoys watching movies. He plans to transfer to either Cal State Fullerton or Long Beach.
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