6/28/08

Teamsters threaten Chicago funeral home strike

Union blames greed

Area funeral home employees face a work interruption soon as contract talks were deadlocked Friday with their employer, Service Corporation International. The company is seeking concessions from employees of its Alderwoods Group Inc. The employees, who are represented by Teamsters Local 727, are being asked to take a 20 percent pay cut.

'There's only one reason a profitable, growing company to demand a 20 percent pay cut from its loyal employees,' said Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer John Coli. 'Pure, unadulterated corporate greed.'

'We're hoping for a show of conscience by SCI management, but we are not optimistic at this late hour,' Coli said. 'Unless they change their attitude, they will inflict anguish on their employees, communities and families.

'Fortunately, we know we have the strong support of our communities and our clergy, no matter what happens,' Coli said.

A strike could have repercussions beyond the 25 employees at the six Alderwoods homes in Chicago, Stickney, Wilmette, Des Plaines and Arlington Heights. The area's 82 Service Corporation International employees would not have to cross Alderwoods picket lines under their current contract with the Teamsters.

The contract between the Teamsters and SCI expires on June 30 at midnight. Management has proposed that talks reconvene Monday afternoon to discuss final offers. Little progress has been made, even on minor non-economic issues.

The homes are: Mt. Auburn in Stickney, Oehlers Arlington Heights, Oehlers Des Plaines, Weinstein-Devon in Chicago, Weinstein-Wilmette and Zefran in Chicago.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

(istockanalyst.com)

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