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Teamsters, funeral directors at odds

Members Teamsters Local 727 show support for unioutside Blake-Lamb Funeral Home  Oak Lawn.  |  Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media

Members of Teamsters Local 727 show support for the union outside the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media

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operated funeral homes in the Southland

Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, Oak Lawn

Chapel Hill Gardens South Funeral Home, Oak Lawn

Kenny Brothers Funeral
Directors, Evergreen Park

Hennessy-Nowak Funeral Home, Calumet City

Updated: June 30, 2013 2:49PM

Teamsters Local 727, which represents 59 funeral directors and drivers at 16 Chicago-area funeral homes owned by Service Corporation International, has lodged unfair labor practice charges against the company.

The union alleges the company has violated the National Labor Relations Act by not bargaining in good faith. The Teamsters claims SCI made “unlawful omissions and misrepresentations in memos issued to its employees and negotiators.”

The union also alleges SCI issued memos that contained “implied threats to interfere with employees’ current benefits” in violation of the federal law.

Local 727 has been negotiating a contract for its members since June 14. No strike date has been set as talks continue. The current contract expires Monday.

In a statement, SCI said that its contract bargaining committee hadn’t yet seen the union’s complaint but nonetheless called the allegations “utterly baseless.”

The company said it is negotiating in good faith with the Teamsters and has offered a “fair and generous package” to the union.

While SCI has offered wage increases of 4 percent to 5 percent in the contract’s first year, the union said its members also are being asked to contribute more toward their health insurance, which would dilute the wage hikes.

The union conducted informational leafletting last week outside the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. Blake-Lamb is one of six Southland funeral homes that is owned by Houston-based SCI.

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