(Chicago, IL) – Dignity Memorial’s attempt to silence the free speech of local picketers has been denied by the Circuit Court of Cook County.
On July 19, SCI filed an Emergency Motion in Cook County Circuit Court making a variety of false allegations in a document that reads more like a press release than a legal pleading.
“This is another example of Dignity Memorial attempting to use the court system to fuel their media relations program. They know that they can force their paid employees to make allegations that they can mock up into a complaint,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “Unfortunately in America, a $3 billion corporate bully with unlimited legal resources can cynically use the court system. Fortunately the judge has seen through this.”
The judge found that SCI had little chance of success on the merits and that based upon the totality of the allegations there is no irreparable harm. As he explained his denial, the judge said he could not ascertain a statement of a claim in the complaint and that he was perplexed as to what SCI hoped to achieve in a preliminary injunction hearing. He nevertheless acknowledged the plaintiff's right to continue with the litigation, and set August 2, 2013 as the date to hear SCI’s preliminary injunction should the company choose to continue in the courts.
Since negotiations began June 14, the Teamsters have filed more than 10 Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the company. The charges include worker intimidation, threats of job loss and worker surveillance and are pending before the National Labor Relations Board.
SCI [NYSE: 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. Teamster-represented funeral directors established a website (www.integrityinillinois.com) 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, executives at Dignity Memorial have 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.