July 1, 2013
/PRNewswire/ -- Funeral directors and drivers represented by Teamsters Local 727 overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike against
-based funeral giant Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) this evening. The strike is set to begin the morning of
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
SCI, which uses the Dignity Memorial brand name, operates 16 funeral homes with 59 employees in the Chicagoland area. The employees voted in a secret ballot election to reject SCI's
"last, best and final offer". In a vote immediately following the rejection of the offer, employees voted to strike.
"In 40 years as a funeral director I've helped thousands of people through some of the most difficult times in their lives. Striking is not something I ever thought I would have to do," said
, a director at Piser Funeral Services in
. "We will not picket any funeral we arranged prior to this vote. For any future arrangements, we have created a website and a hotline to help our families connect with a community-friendly company while the strike is ongoing."
In preparation for a strike, Teamster-represented funeral directors established a website (
) and hotline (312-206-4123) to direct families to community-friendly funeral homes not affected by the labor action. A complete list of affected homes is available at the site.
SCI has already brought in out-of-state funeral directors. They are expected to direct funerals while working under local managers'
Since negotiations began on
, Local 727 spent nearly 50 hours in a fruitless attempt to reach an agreement. On
, the union filed unfair labor practice charges against the company for engaging in bad faith bargaining by making unlawful omissions and misrepresentations in memos issued to its employees and negotiators. Additionally, SCI issued memos that contained implied threats to interfere with employees' current benefits in violation of section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA. By end-of-day
, SCI had made virtually no movement on its proposals to eliminate the employee pension plan and gut workplace rights.
"In 100 years of representing workers in
funeral industry, the Teamsters have always been able to reach amicable agreements. Unfortunately it is obvious that SCI intended from the beginning to destroy that achievement and force its employees to strike," said
John T. Coli
, Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer. "SCI's initial demand sheet from
is nearly identical to the final offer they presented June 30. The company admits it can easily afford to maintain these workers' benefits. They just simply won't because their business model calls for them to siphon more money out of the
community and send it back to
Teamsters Local 727 has represented
funeral directors and embalmers since 1946, and it represents more than 6,800 hardworking men and women in the greater Chicagoland area.
SOURCE Teamsters Local 727