Teamsters: Chicagoland Religious Leaders Call On Dignity Memorial To Resume Good Faith Negotiations

Jul 18, 2013, 16:05 ET from Teamsters Local 727

Chicago Fire Department Chaplain Thomas Mulcrone and Area Clergy Ask Houston-based Funeral Giant to Negotiate with Local Funeral Directors

CHICAGO, July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rev. Thomas Mulcrone, Chaplain of the Chicago Fire Department, Metropolitan Iakovos and Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and Bishop Timothy Lyne and Rev. John Boivin of Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral have joined 46 other area clergy to call upon Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) to resume negotiations with striking funeral directors and drivers.


"The religious community across the Chicagoland area is calling on SCI now to negotiate a fair contract with its funeral directors and drivers," their appeal stated.  "Do not tear apart the fabric of our neighborhoods and the pride of Chicago's funeral homes by continuing to engage in anti-worker, anti-labor practices.  On behalf of parishioners across Chicago and northern Illinois, the religious community urges SCI to treat its employees with the same level of integrity that SCI expects workers to demonstrate to grieving families."

These 51 members of the clergy joined 40 additional religious leaders who signed a similar appeal by ARISE Chicago on June 28. 

SCI, which uses the Dignity Memorial brand name, operates 16 funeral homes with 59 employees in the Chicagoland area.  The company forced its workers out on an unfair labor practice strike more than two weeks ago.  Strikers have been picketing at Dignity locations since July 2.

"I never imagined that we'd have been pushed to this point, but we're doing what's right and what needs to be done.  We're all local neighborhood people, highly experienced and known in our communities.  We want to get back to doing what we do best, to take care of our client families," said Vincent Giff, a 24-year funeral director at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn.

The 51 religious leaders who signed the new appeal included:

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos

Chancellor, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

Rev. Monsignor James T. Kaczorowski

Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Chicago, IL

Metropolitan Iakovos

Presiding Hierarch, Greek Orthodox Metropolis

Rev. Joseph A. Mulcrone

Catholic Office of the Deaf, Chicago, IL

Rev. Thomas Mulcrone

Chicago Fire Department

Rev. Timothy Fiaia

St. Domitilla Parish, Hillside, IL

Bishop Timothy Lyne

Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, IL

Rev. Joseph E. Millshi

Westchester Community Church, Westchester, IL

Rev. John P. Boivin

Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, IL

Rev. Martin E. Michniewicz

St. Alexander Roman Catholic Church, Palos Hts., IL

Rev. Wayne Svida

Our Lady of the Ridge Church, Chicago Ridge, IL

Associate Pastor Joseph Mol

St. Jane de Chantal Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. Frank Latzko

St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. William A. Eddy

St. Hilary Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. Michael J. Furlan

St. Germaine Catholic Church, Oak Lawn, IL

Rev. Thomas J. Hurley

Old St. Patrick's Church, Chicago, IL

Fr. Thomas R. McCarthy

St. Rita of Cascia High School, Chicago, IL

Pastor Patrick Cecil

St. Mary of the Woods, Chicago, IL

Rev. Harold Stanger

St. Marcelline Church, Schaumburg, IL

Rev. Thomas Winikates

Divine Infant Church, Westchester, IL

Rev. William T. Corcoran

St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Orland Hills, IL

Rev. Darrio Boscutti

St. Cyprian Church, River Grove, IL

Rev. Jonathan B. Krogh

Evergreen Park Ministry, Evergreen Park, IL

Associate Pastor Judith Watt

Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. David L. Haley

Central United Methodist Church, Skokie, IL

Parish Administrator Jose F. Zuleta

Transfiguration of Our Lord, Chicago, IL

Rev. Patrick J. O'Neill

St. Alexander, Palos Heights, IL

Pastor Erik S. Weber

St. Timothy's Lutheran Church, Skokie, IL

Fr. Kevin McCray

Queen of Martyrs Parish, Evergreen Park, IL

Gale Voytas

St. Daniel the Prophet, Chicago, IL

Fr. Edward Mikolajczyk

Queen of Martyrs Parish, Evergreen Park, IL

Alice Dusek

St. Daniel the Prophet, Chicago, IL

Deacon Joel W. Chrastka

St. Leonard Parish, Berwyn, IL

Deacon Richard Voytas

St. Daniel the Prophet, Chicago, IL

Rev. Lawrence Dowling

St. Agatha Parish, Chicago, IL

Father Greg Rom

Pastor, St. Felicitas, Chicago, IL

Rev. Richard LoBianco

Divine Savior Church, Norridge, IL

Joyce D. Morrison

Senior Clerk, St. John Vianney, Northlake, IL

Rev. Louis Tylka Jr.

Mater Christi Church, North Riverside, IL

Ruth Knipper

Queen of Martyrs Parish, Evergreen Park, IL

Rev. Frank A. Kurucz

St. Cajetan Parish, Chicago, IL

Sonia Villalpando

Our Lady of the Snows, Chicago, IL

Kathleen Kidder

Wedding and Funeral Coordinator, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL

James Griffith

St. Christina Catholic School, Chicago, IL

Bishop Valentin Lorejo, Jr.

Diocese of Eastern United States and Eastern Canada, Philippine Independent Church, Chicago, IL

Eva Bustamante

Coordinator, Ministry of Consolation, Chicago, IL

Father Byron Papanikolaou

Protopresbyter Emeritus, Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Palos Hills, IL

Father Gene F. Smith

Associate Pastor, St. Linus Parish, Oak Lawn, IL

Chaplain Raymond Tillrock

Palos Community Hospital, Palos Heights, IL

Rev. Mark Walter

St. Linus Parish, Oak Lawn, IL

Pastor Charles Bolser

St. Viator Parish, Chicago, IL


Teamster-represented funeral directors established a website ( and hotline (312-206-4123) to direct families to community-friendly funeral homes not affected by the labor action.  A complete list of affected homes is available at the site.

Since the strike began, Dignity Memorial has not contacted Teamsters Local 727 to resume negotiations. 

Teamsters Local 727 has represented Chicago's funeral directors and embalmers since 1946, and it represents more than 6,800 hardworking men and women in the greater Chicagoland area.

SOURCE Teamsters Local 727