(CHICAGO, IL) – After 170 days of being humbugged by Service Corporation International [NYSE: SCI], locked out Teamster funeral directors and drivers hope to bring some Christmas cheer to SCI CEO Thomas L. Ryan with two tickets to the Goodman Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”
“We’ve tried the negotiating table, the National Labor Relations Board, even picketing —perhaps live theater will help SCI come to the table and bargain a fair contract,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “We bought two tickets. This way Ryan can bring someone from the company’s legal department too.”
SCI’s numerous unfair labor practices forced 59 union-represented funeral workers to strike on July 2. Despite an unconditional offer by the Teamsters to return to work, the company locked out workers at 16 Chicago-area Dignity Memorial funeral homes on August 19. On December 12, SCI acknowledged violating federal labor law in its negotiations and treatment of the 59 locked out workers.
“If SCI CEO Tom Ryan has seen the play, he certainly didn’t get the message,” Coli said. “Whether or not he’s seen the Dickens classic, the Goodman Theatre’s staging of ‘A Christmas Carol’ is simply the best. If these fine actors can’t get the message through, I don’t know who will.”
The two tickets are waiting at will call for the theatre’s Christmas Eve production. The Goodman Theatre, recipient of the Special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, is internationally recognized for its artists, productions and educational programs.
Over the years, SCI has been the focus of many scandals including the bunk-bedding of bodies, mishandling remains, demolishing vaults and caskets and squeezing out family-run businesses. Most recently, Bloomberg BusinessWeek dedicated an entire cover story to the company.
Teamsters 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.
“If the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future visited me, I’d want the protection of the fourth wall,” Coli said. “If Ryan humbugs us on the tickets, let’s hope he has a friend like Jacob Marley who can clue him in to the eternal consequences of disrespecting his workers.”
Teamsters Local 727 has represented Chicago’s funeral directors and embalmers since 1946, and it represents more than 6,800 hardworking men and women across Chicagoland.