Friday, July 26, 2013

Chicago families stand with Teamster funeral directors, drivers against SCI

Eight members of Teamster Local 727 hold picket signs, demand fair negotiations.
Local 727 is taking a stand against their SCI bosses.
Chicago-area Teamster funeral directors and drivers on strike for a month are standing strong against SCI as bereaved families are rallying to their side.

A growing number of community residents are refusing to cross picket lines at the 16 area SCI-owned homes, which operate under the Dignity Memorial brand name. Instead, they are approaching the funeral directors and drivers, members of Local 727, to pledge their support. They are asking for more information on how they can move their funeral arrangements to other non-affiliated homes and transfer pre-need contracts. Teamsters have responded by assisting them in securing new services.
John T. Coli, Local 727’s secretary-treasurer, said SCI has placed such families in a difficult position by forcing a strike. But union members are stepping up to help them:
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.
Previous SCI customers said the company is recklessly treading upon workers who have been pillars of the community. Janice Lapinski, a longtime Orland Park resident who has previously used the services of Ridge Funeral Home in Chicago, said:
SCI uses the Dignity logo, but where is the dignity in the inexcusable treatment of their employees engaged in this labor dispute?
And Linda Stearns, an Oak Lawn resident whose family has used the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home for generations, added:
These funeral directors are so kind and so generous, always willing to help any member of our community. 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.
Picketers express their unhappiness with SCI.
Teamsters Local 727 represents 59 funeral directors and drivers at SCI-owned funeral homes across the Chicago area. The union has established a website and hotline (312-206-4123) to direct families to funeral homes not affected by this labor action.

SCI last week tried to get an injunction against the funeral directors and drivers to end the strike, but a Cook County court shot them down. Meanwhile, since negotiations began June 14, the Teamsters have filed more than 10 unfair labor practice charges against the company.
Stay strong, brothers and sisters!