Contract Negotiations Resume With Texas-Based Funeral Industry Giant

Service Corporation International

Contract negotiations between Teamsters Local 727 and funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) are set to resume Tuesday, June 29, 2010, with the possibility of labor disputes at 17 area funeral homes and facilities hanging in the balance.

The final two bargaining sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, June 29, and Wednesday, June 30 — the day the current three-year contract expires. If an agreement cannot be reached, the funeral directors and drivers will take a strike vote on Wednesday, June 30.

“This gigantic corporation brings its own outside agenda to the communities where our members have been working and living for decades,” said John Coli Jr., Local 727 Vice President.

Houston, Texas-based SCI is the largest provider of death-care products and services in North America, operating more than 2,000 funeral homes. Amid the dismal economic climate, SCI’s profits continue to grow. According to industry magazine American Funeral Director, SCI’s 2010 first-quarter funeral profit increased $500,000 (0.6 percent), putting the corporation’s first-quarter funeral profits at more than $83 million.

Despite remaining profitable, SCI wants to implement severe and unreasonable changes for its Chicago-area funeral directors and drivers. Management is proposing:

  • A three-year wage freeze
  • Wage cuts for its longest-tenured employees
  • Elimination of employee pensions
  • A 30 percent increase in co-pay for health and welfare benefitsTeamster representatives are seeking to maintain industry standards for its members’ wages and benefits.

“For the largest funeral corporation in the world to try to take away its employees’ pensions is unconscionable,” Coli said. “If SCI forces a labor dispute, our Teamster-represented funeral directors will not allow the company to hold families in their communities hostage. We are in the process of setting up a hotline and website to help direct families to funeral facilities that treat their employees with dignity.”

The following SCI-owned and operated facilities could be affected starting Thursday, July 1:

  • Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, 4727 W. 103rd St., Oak Lawn, IL
  • Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, 5015 Lincoln Ave., Lisle, IL
  • Central Prep, 7347 N. Monticello Ave., Skokie, IL
  • Chapel Hill West, 17W201 Roosevelt Road, Oak Brook Terrace, IL
  • Chapel Hill Gardens South, 11333 S. Central Ave., Oak Lawn, IL
  • Cypress Funeral Home, 1698 Bloomingdale Road, Glendale Heights, IL
  • Drake & Son Funeral Home, 5303 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL
  • Funeraria de Angel Sagrado Corazon, 5219 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL
  • Hennessy-Nowak Funeral Home, 400 Pulaski Road, Calumet City, IL
  • Kenny Brothers Funeral Home, 3600 W. 95th St., Evergreen Park, IL
  • Lloyd Mandel Levayah Funerals, 4750 W. Dempster St., Skokie, IL
  • Marsh Funeral Home, 305 N. Cemetery Road, Gurnee, IL
  • Malec Funeral Home, 6000 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL
  • Montclair-Lucania Funeral Home, 6901 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL
  • Piser Chapels, 9200 N. Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL
  • Ridge Funeral Home, 6620 W. Archer Ave., Chicago, IL
  • William H Scott Funeral Home, 1100 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette, IL

Teamsters Local 727 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, which represents more than 100,000 men and women throughout Illinois and Indiana.

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