Friday, June 28, 2013

Why the Teamsters charged a funeral giant with lawbreaking

No one should be surprised that funeral giant SCI would lie and break federal laws during contract talks. SCI has in the past hired gun-toting goons to spy on its workers during negotiations.

The $3.8 billion company buys neighborhood funeral homes, siphons money from the community and tries to impoverish its workers.

SCI is currently in contract negotiations with Chicago-area funeral directors and drivers who are members of Local 727. The Houston-based corporation is demanding the workers agree to elimination of their pension, increased health care costs and a wage freeze for new hires. And it's not as if the company is hurting. Its stock went up 56 percent in the last year.

SCI is also lying to the employees and negotiators. That's against the law. The press release from Local 727 explains:
On or about June 24 and 25, in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), SCI engaged in bad faith bargaining with the union 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.
The funeral directors are asking the public for support. (You can help by signing this online petition here.)

Teamster funeral directors rally for fairness
Local 727 placed an ad in the Chicago Tribune and tried to place the same one in the Chicago Sun-Times. But the Sun-Times refused to carry it. John T. Coli, secretary-treasurer of the Local, said.
The Sun-Times obviously does not want to offend a consistent revenue source. It’s ironic that a  newspaper that makes its money off the First Amendment would do this.
Here's the ad, which warns of a labor dispute:
We, the undersigned funeral directors and drivers, are proud to be able to assist grieving families in their greatest time of need, and we have dedicated our lives and careers to this important service. 
Over the last seven years, we have made sacrifices — including wage cuts and freezes — in order to help SCI. Now, the company wants to eliminate our pensions and slash our benefits. Their shameful actions could force us out on strike and cause further harm to the Chicago community...
These walls hide real nasty behavior
As funeral directors and drivers, we are not nameless, faceless workers; we are licensed professionals who have spent years fostering strong relationships with the families we serve. SCI needs to know they cannot treat us this way. 
In the event of a labor dispute, please visit or call (312) 206-4123 to be directed to alternative funeral facilities.
About the guns:  Six years ago, the Teamster funeral directors were caucusing in a South Side hotel room between negotiating sessions with SCI. A female Teamster negotiator left the room and returned to find a large man who was clearly carrying a gun listening at the door. He tried to intimidate her, but she brushed past him. Funeral directors fanned out across the hotel grounds and identified several more armed goons. The Teamsters immediately filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

For more information, go to