(Chicago, IL) – Striking Funeral Director Lawrence Mandel was surprised that Dignity Memorial would bother offering him an “opportunity.” As Mandel picketed in front of Dignity Memorial Piser Funeral Services in Skokie, he received an email that read:
Dear Lawrence M. Mandel,
We are contacting you for a potential opportunity on a temporary basis due to a strike in progress at some funeral homes owned and operated by SCI Illinois Services, Inc. These temporary assignments could lead to permanent positions based on the outcome of the strike and your performance; a permanent opportunity is not guaranteed.
Current and active Illinois Funeral Director/Embalmer license
Resident within the Chicago metro area
If you fit the requirements and are interested, please contact me for immediate consideration.
Thank you, Amber Kennedy
SCI-Service Corporation International
SCI, which uses the Dignity Memorial brand name, operates 16 funeral homes with 59 employees in the Chicagoland area. In the week leading up to the strike, the company brought in out-of-state funeral directors to do the work normally provided by local funeral directors.
“SCI’s contingent of out-of-state funeral directors must not be working,” said John T. Coli, Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer. “From what we understand, the few funerals Dignity has performed have left families dissatisfied.”
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 on Tuesday, July 2, Dignity Memorial has not contacted Teamsters Local 727 to resume negotiations.
“Two days before the strike, our negotiating team made an offer to Dignity that contained lower wage increases than they were offering so we could maintain our pension and health benefits. It kept the rest of the contract intact with virtually the same language we’ve been working under since 2007,” said Jay Horowitz, a 20-year funeral driver and member of the negotiating team. “We’re asking SCI the same thing we asked when bargaining began: let’s negotiate a fair contract.”
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.