(Chicago) — Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board has found merit in several unfair labor practice charges filed against funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (SCI), which has locked out 59 funeral directors and drivers at 16 Chicago-area funeral homes.
The Regional Director of the Board also intends to dismiss each and every frivolous charge filed against Teamsters Local 727 by the company.
“This corporate bully’s unreasonable and unlawful practices finally have been recognized,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727. “As we have said all along, the company has been merely grasping at straws, trying to shift the blame on the union with their false accusations. In reality, they are the ones violating the law and mistreating their dedicated employees.”
According to the labor board, SCI has engaged in bad faith bargaining by direct dealing with union members during ongoing contract negotiations with Local 727; threatening members with loss of vacation; engaging in unlawful surveillance of union activity; and unlawfully soliciting withdrawals from the union.
Meanwhile, the labor board found no merit in any of the frivolous and potentially defamatory accusations made by the company against the union.
“The company’s repeated attempts at the labor board and in the Circuit Court of Cook County to accuse the union of wrongdoing have all failed,” Coli said. “Why? Because their accusations are blatantly false.”
SCI’s numerous unfair labor practices forced the union-represented funeral workers to strike on July 2. Despite an unconditional offer by the union to return to work, the company locked out workers on Aug. 19. Pickets have continued to protest SCI’s bad faith bargaining and other unfair labor practices.
The Region of the NLRB now will attempt to reach a settlement with SCI on the charges. Absent settlement, the Region typically issues a complaint, and a hearing in front of an administrative law judge then takes place.
“Our fight is not over, but this is a victory for working men and women,” Coli said.
Local 727 urges all Chicago-area residents to support community-owned funeral homes as labor actions continue. More than 60 recommended funeral home alternatives can be found online at www.IntegrityInIllinois.com to aid families in affected communities.
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.