SCI Continues to Stall at the Bargaining Table

| August 26, 2020
On Tuesday August 18th, Teamsters Local 727 kicked off the seventh-round of negotiations with funeral giant Service Corporation International (SCI) by pressing SCI for an update on the five female Funeral Directors who the Union discovered had been hired under scale and to whom SCI had failed to give some of the negotiated across the board wage increases. No explanation was offered by the Company.

The Union committee stressed to SCI’s management team that the treatment of these women was completely unacceptable. Given the ever-expanding number of managers and increasingly overworked bargaining unit members, the Company’s inability to manage remains a mystery. The fact that such treatment appears to be reserved for women will have to be explained.  As a result of the Union committee’s diligence, the Company confirmed that all of the effected Directors’ hourly wages have been corrected and brought up to the proper scale, and that the members will be made whole for all lost wages back to the date of hire. Payment should be made in the August 21st paycheck.

The Union Committee began the bargaining session ready to negotiate with the Company in good faith and proposed a package deal which incorporated some of SCI’s previous proposals. However, SCI rejected the package outright, apparently because it included language that would remove the “vacation black-out period”, an outdated concept that was created in the 1960s when SCI was signatory to the FDSA agreement in order to allow the, then prevalent, “mom and pop” owner/directors to have guaranteed time off during the winter holidays. This carry-over language is no longer relevant to the operation of SCI funeral homes which are run by shareholders instead of independent owners. In the year 2020, SCI has no need to block bargaining unit members from taking vacation between November 16 and December 31 every year. Refusing to bend on this concept is just another way for the Company to delay negotiations and demean the members of this bargaining unit.  

In addition to refusing to move forward with the Union’s package proposal, the Company also made a proposal that would discontinue expanded contractual benefits for employees hired before July 1, 2007. This is not a new SCI proposal; the Company has proposed it in every contract negotiation since 2007 and each time it is proposed, including during this bargaining session, the Union has made it clear that it is a non-starter and something that the Union’s committee will never agree to.  The Union has no intention of agreeing to a concessionary contract and will not accept the Company’s effort to take away more of the hard-earned benefits of this membership.

“If SCI wants to move forward with this process, they need to get serious about their proposals and ours,” said John Coli Jr, Secretary Treasurer of Local 727. “Stop wasting time by holding onto outdated concepts that no longer make any sense. Stop wasting time with proposals that the Union has, and never will, agree to. Come to the table and show your employees that you actually value their hard work.”

Because of the Company’s continued delay tactics, the Parties have not yet begun to discuss economic contract provisions such as wages, but the Union remains resolute in ensuring that Directors, especially those with less seniority, receive contractually guaranteed wages that are more in line with the current Chicagoland market.  

The Parties will resume negotiations on Friday, August 28th.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to Nicholas Micaletti 847-696-7500 or [email protected]
Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.

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Category: FUNERAL, SCI/Alderwoods

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