Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Teamsters Local 727 And Against Cremation Society of Illinois

| August 29, 2017

Cremation Society’s ‘One Man Bargaining Unit’ Theory Dashed

On August 28, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Teamsters Local Union No. 727 and against Cremation Society of Illinois and Olson Burke/Sullivan Funeral & Cremation Center.  Central to the case was Olson Burke/Sullivan’s attempt to renege on all obligations under its Union contract by claiming it was a one-man bargaining unit and had no meaningful connection to Cremation Society of Illinois.  Both entities are owned and operated by Gerald Sullivan.

The Seventh Circuit, which is only one level removed from the Supreme Court of the United States, disagreed with the arguments of Sullivan. In its decision, the panel of three appellate court federal justices held that Olson Burke/Sullivan and Cremation Society are actually a “single employer” under the law. This means they are each liable for the other’s obligations including the collective bargaining agreement with the Union.  The Court also specifically held that Sullivan’s “one man bargaining unit” theory is completely illusory because Cremation Society employees performing bargaining unit work should also be included in that number.

“This is a landmark decision in the Chicagoland funeral industry,” said John Coli, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727.  “The ruling is now federal legal precedent on the issue of a one-man bargaining unit and whether closely connected funeral homes will be treated as one entity under the law.”

Coli added that Local 727 members can be assured that the Union will use this decision to ensure funeral home employers are not able to escape their obligations with fraudulent assertions.

CLICK HERE to read and download the decision.

Category: FUNERAL

Comments are closed.