Press Releases

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

(Chicago, IL) – 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

Metropolitan Iakovos
Presiding Hierarch, Greek Orthodox Metropolis

Rev. Thomas Mulcrone
Chicago Fire Department

Bishop Timothy Lyne
Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, IL

Rev. John P. Boivin
Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, IL

Rev. Wayne Svida
Our Lady of the Ridge Church, Chicago Ridge, IL

Rev. Frank Latzko
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. Michael J. Furlan
St. Germaine Catholic Church, Oak Lawn, IL

Fr. Thomas R. McCarthy
St. Rita of Cascia High School, Chicago, IL

Rev. Harold Stanger
St. Marcelline Church, Schaumburg, IL

Rev. William T. Corcoran
St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Orland Hills, IL

Rev. Jonathan B. Krogh
Evergreen Park Ministry, Evergreen Park, IL

Rev. David L. Haley
Central United Methodist Church, Skokie, IL

Rev. Patrick J. O’Neill
St. Alexander, Palos Heights, IL

Fr. Kevin McCray
Queen of Martyrs Parish, Evergreen Park, IL

Fr. Edward Mikolajczyk
Queen of Martyrs Parish, Evergreen Park, IL

Deacon Joel W. Chrastka
St. Leonard Parish, Berwyn, IL

Rev. Monsignor James T. Kaczorowski
Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. Joseph A. Mulcrone
Catholic Office of the Deaf, Chicago, IL

Rev. Timothy Fiaia
St. Domitilla Parish, Hillside, IL

Rev. Joseph E. Millshi
Westchester Community Church, Westchester, IL

Rev. Martin E. Michniewicz
St. Alexander Roman Catholic Church, Palos Hts., IL

Associate Pastor Joseph Mol
St. Jane de Chantal Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. William A. Eddy
St. Hilary Church, Chicago, IL

Rev. Thomas J. Hurley
Old St. Patrick’s Church, Chicago, IL

Pastor Patrick Cecil
St. Mary of the Woods, Chicago, IL

Rev. Thomas Winikates
Divine Infant Church, Westchester, IL

Rev. Darrio Boscutti
St. Cyprian Church, River Grove, IL

Associate Pastor Judith Watt
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL

Parish Administrator Jose F. Zuleta
Transfiguration of Our Lord, Chicago, IL

Pastor Erik S. Weber
St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, Skokie, IL

Gale Voytas
St. Daniel the Prophet, Chicago, IL

Alice Dusek
St. Daniel the Prophet, Chicago, IL

Deacon Richard Voytas
St. Daniel the Prophet, Chicago, IL

Rev. Lawrence Dowling
St. Agatha Parish, Chicago, IL

Rev. Richard LoBianco
Divine Savior Church, Norridge, IL

Rev. Louis Tylka Jr.
Mater Christi Church, North Riverside, IL

Rev. Frank A. Kurucz
St. Cajetan Parish, Chicago, IL

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

Bishop Valentin Lorejo, Jr.
Diocese of Eastern United States and Eastern Canada, Philippine Independent Church, Chicago, IL

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

Chaplain Raymond Tillrock
Palos Community Hospital, Palos Heights, IL

Father Greg Rom
Pastor, St. Felicitas, Chicago, IL

Joyce D. Morrison
Senior Clerk, St. John Vianney, Northlake, IL

Ruth Knipper
Queen of Martyrs Parish, Evergreen Park, IL

Sonia Villalpando
Our Lady of the Snows, Chicago, IL

James Griffith
St. Christina Catholic School, Chicago, IL

Eva Bustamante
Coordinator, Ministry of Consolation, Chicago, IL

Father Gene F. Smith
Associate Pastor, St. Linus Parish, Oak Lawn, 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.