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TheStreet Open House

Chicagoland Families Stand With Striking Funeral Directors, Transfer Services To Alternative Funeral Homes

Teamsters Continue to Offer Community-Friendly Options to Grieving Families

CHICAGO, July 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Families throughout Chicagoland are supporting striking funeral directors and drivers by refusing to cross picket lines and transferring their funeral services to worker-friendly funeral homes.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100127/IBTLOGO )

Pickets began July 2 at 16 Chicago-area homes owned by Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI), which uses the Dignity Memorial brand name. In nearly four weeks on the picket line, funeral directors and drivers represented by Teamsters Local 727 have been approached by dozens of families eager to show their support for the workers.

"By forcing this strike, SCI has placed grieving families in a terrible position," said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727. "The Teamsters cannot thank those families enough who've stood alongside workers and realized they don't have to pay into SCI's corporate greed and intimidation. Local 727 has been proactive about informing families of more than 60 community-friendly funeral homes that are ready to arrange their funeral services."

During the last week alone, more than 10 families in Chicago, Oak Lawn and Skokie have approached picketing funeral directors for more information on moving their funeral arrangements to alternative locations and transferring pre-need contracts. The Teamsters have assisted all families to quickly secure new services.

"SCI uses the Dignity logo, but where is the dignity in the inexcusable treatment of their employees engaged in this labor dispute?" asked Janice Lapinski, a longtime resident of Orland Park who has previously used the services of Ridge Funeral Home in Chicago.

"These funeral directors are so kind and so generous, always willing to help any member of our community," added Linda Stearns, a 40-year resident of Oak Lawn whose family has used the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home for generations. "Until these men and women return to work, families need to go somewhere else. You won't get the service right now that you got before."

On July 22, multiple families with tentative arrangements at SCI-owned Blake-Lamb opted to hold funeral services at nearby Curley Funeral Home in Chicago Heights. The following day, families with upcoming arrangements at SCI-owned Piser Funeral Home in Skokie moved to Chicago Jewish Funerals in the same community. Other families with arrangements at Malec and Drake and Son funeral homes in Chicago transferred their services to Colonial Wojciechowski funeral homes in Chicago and Niles.

Out of respect for the departed, the Teamsters have withheld the names of these families.

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