CHICAGO — Funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) has accepted Teamsters Local 727’s offer to enter federal mediation as the union attempts to reach an agreement on a new contract for Chicago-area funeral workers.
“The union is making every effort to avoid a labor dispute, which ultimately would affect the communities and families our funeral members have dedicated their lives to serving,” John Coli Jr., President of Teamsters Local 727.
Mediation is scheduled to begin Oct. 29 at Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services in Hinsdale, Ill.
Teamsters Local 727 representatives have met with the company 11 times since May to negotiate a new contract for 26 funeral directors and drivers at four Alderwoods funeral homes, which SCI owns and operates. The previous three-year contract expired June 30.
In its most recent contract proposal, the company is demanding to:
· Eradicate job security
· Significantly limit authority of the arbitrator in any disciplinary decision
· Dismantle seniority rights
· Eliminate guaranteed employment for full-time drivers
· Retain unilateral ability to slash health care benefits at the company’s discretion
Houston-based SCI operates more than 2,000 funeral homes and cemeteries in North America, many of which still bear the names of families that independently owned them for generations. SCI is a publicly traded company valued at nearly $5 billion.
Teamsters Local 727 represents more than 7,000 hardworking men and women, including about 500 funeral industry workers, in the Greater Chicago area.
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