Contract Negotiations Enter Final Stages for Directors at 17 Area Funeral Homes

Jun 24, 2010, 11:35 ET from Teamsters Local 727

Labor Disputes Could Be on Horizon for Facilities Owned by Funeral Industry Giant SCI

CHICAGO, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After seven meetings between Teamsters Local 727 and funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI), contract negotiations are at a standstill as the current contract for funeral directors, embalmers and drivers nears expiration on Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

"Our members have worked and lived in these communities for decades. It's appalling how this company comes in with an outside agenda while putting up a facade of being family-friendly," said John Coli Jr., Local 727 Vice President. "Our members bring dignity and comfort to grieving families in their greatest time of need. This company should do the same for its employees."

Houston, Texas-based Service Corporation International is the largest provider of death-care products and services in North America, operating more than 2,000 funeral homes and facilities in 46 states, eight Canadian provinces and Puerto Rico.

According to industry magazine American Funeral Director, SCI's 2010 first-quarter funeral gross profit increased $500,000 (0.6 percent), putting the corporation's first-quarter funeral gross profits at more than $83 million. Additionally, SCI's cemetery gross profit increased $11.7 million (73.1 percent) in the first quarter.

Teamster representatives are seeking to maintain industry standards for its members' wages and benefits, but SCI wants to implement severe changes. If an agreement cannot be reached before the current contract's expiration date, labor disputes at 17 Chicago-area funeral homes and facilities appear likely.

"If SCI forces this labor dispute, our Teamster-represented funeral directors will not allow the company to hold families in their communities hostage," Coli said. "We are in the process of setting up a hotline 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, 2010:

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, 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 hardworking men and women throughout Illinois and Indiana.

SOURCE Teamsters Local 727