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Strike postponed at four Chicago area funeral homes

Funeral proceeds after Local uniNo. 727 postpones strike workers outside WeinsteFuneral home located Wilmette Illinois.
|  Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

Funeral proceeds after Local union No. 727 postpones strike of workers outside Weinstein Funeral home located in Wilmette, Illinois. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: July 20, 2011 4:37PM

A strike set for this morning at four suburban Chicago funeral homes hit by vandalism Sunday has been postponed, according to the union.

Teamsters Local 727 had planned to strike Service Corp. International-owned Alderwoods funeral homes. The union’s contract expired June 30.

Company spokeswoman Jessica McDunn said this morning a meeting is scheduled for this evening with the union.

Teamsters Local 727 represents 16 Alderwoods employees, including funeral directors, embalmers and drivers at Mount Auburn Funeral Home in Stickney, Weinstein Funeral Home in Wilmette, Lauterburg & Oehler Funeral Home in Arlington Heights and Oehler Funeral Home in Des Plaines. The latter three were vandalized sometime Sunday evening, McDunn said, adding the matter was reported to police.

“Three of those four funeral homes were vandalized…with vulgar profanity, broken windows, damage to the front door and damage to an associates’s car,” McDunn said.

The union denied any involvement.

“We certainly don’t condone that kind of behavior,” said spokeswoman Maggie Jenkins.

The union earlier had accused the company of bad-faith bargaining in unfair labor practice charges it filed. It also had said the company proposed a three-year wage freeze and a company health care package that is more expensive and less comprehensive than the union’s health and welfare benefits.

The company has said it proposed very few changes to the last contract and that its proposal does not reduce wage rates or make changes to the employee benefit plan.

The company has maintained that it’s prepared to continue to provide quality uninterrupted service in the event of a strike.

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