SCI Call Volume In Chicagoland Area Down 50% Since Funeral Directors Went On Stike
Since the two-month-old labor dispute began, the effects of having to cross a picket line and giant inflatable rats may be driving families elsewhere to make arrangements for deceased loved ones.
The striking Teamsters have been tracking the decline in business performed at the 16 SCI-owned funerals homes in the Chicago area.
Blake-Lamb, which averaged 30-40 funerals per month before the strike, has seen business drop by almost half, to 13-19. Some of the calls involved direct cremations or burials.
According to an informal spreadsheet maintained by the striking funeral directors, business has also dropped at other area SCI-owned homes, including:
Kenny Brothers (Evergreen Park): July: 5, August: 8, September to date: 3. In 2012, the funeral home averaged 11-14 calls per month;
Chapel Hill Gardens South (Oak Lawn): July: 14, August: 13, September to date: 3. In 2012, the average was approximately 17 per month.
Ridge Funeral Home (Chicago): July: 3, August: 8, September to date: 2. The 2012 average was 15 per month.
SCI maintains that it had made a “very generous contract proposal, including 9- percent in wage increases over the next two years, yet there is still a substantial difference between the bargaining positions of the company and the union,” according to an SCI news release.
Larry Michael, managing director for SCI Illinois Services, Inc., further stated that the death-care corporation’s goal is “to come to full and complete resolution with the union as soon as possible. Allowing union members to return to work without a contract in place will only delay successful resolution of this situation.”
The Teamsters charge that SCI is only trying to pad its bottom line by turning a profit for its shareholders by locking out “hardworking employees rather than see them return to serve grieving families in their communities.
The two sides are scheduled to meet at the bargaining table again on Tuesday September 17.