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Funeral Workers Choose Local 727

Funeral Workers Choose Local 727

Hammond, Indiana-based Workers Organize with Teamsters

June 21, 2004

On June 18, a unit of 17 funeral workers at Service Corporation International (SCI) joined Local 727 in Chicago. The unit, based in Hammond, Indiana, is made up of funeral directors, embalmers, drivers and wake attendants.

"The pay scale of all the workers was all over the place and they wanted a union to get things under control," said Mike DiGrazia, a Joint Council 25 organizer. "We have a great core group of people who really wanted to be Teamsters and wanted to right some wrongs. To the workers, it seemed like because of this invisible line between them and funeral workers in Chicago, they weren’t getting the same benefits as everyone else. There are a lot of unionized funeral workers in Chicago—many of them Teamsters."

That core group, DiGrazia said, had many retirees who were working for SCI as a post-retirement profession. The retirees wanted to help in the organizing campaign because they didn’t want the company to take advantage of their successors.

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