Striking Funeral Home Workers Inflate Fat Cat

Teamster-represented funeral home employees enter third week of walking the picket line in strike against Service Corporation International.

Inflatible cat in front of Blake-Lamb Funeral Home where employees walked out in a labor dispute with Service Corporation International.
Inflatible cat in front of Blake-Lamb Funeral Home where employees walked out in a labor dispute with Service Corporation International.

Striking funeral home employees from Teamster Local 727 inflated a giant fat cat squeezing the little man in front of an Oak Lawn funeral home on Tuesday.

The inflatible, ten-foot-tall feline was placed at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home at 103rd Street and Cicero Avenue, where funeral home employees are embroiled in a labor dispute with Service Corporation International.

Employees from 16 Chicago-area funeral homes walked off the job on July 2 after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract for funeral directors, drivers and embalmers.

The Houston-based SCI purports to be North America’s largest provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services, using the Dignity Memorial Brand.

In the final hour of last ditch contract negotiations, a union bargaining team made an offer to Dignity containing lower wage increases than they were offering so union members could maintain their pension and health benefits.

The company has brought in out-of-state funeral directors to continue the work at the striking Chicago-area funeral homes.

Whether SCI remains willing to continue contract negotiations remains to be seen. According to the Teamsters, a picketing funeral director in Skokie said he received an email from a Dignity recruiter, offering him an opportunity, that read:

“We are contacting you for a potential opportunity on a temporary basis due to a strike in progress at some funeral homes owned and operated by SCI Illinois Services, Inc. These temporary assignments could lead to permanent positions based on the outcome of the strike and your performance; a permanent opportunity is not guaranteed.
  • Current and active Illinois Funeral Director/Embalmer license
  • Resident within the Chicago metro area
If you fit the requirements and are interested, please contact me for immediate consideration.
Thank you, Amber Kennedy
SCI-Service Corporation International


John T. Coli, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 727, said in a news release that the strike has had an impact on the number of funerals performed at the affected, Dignity funeral homes.

“SCI’s contingent of out-of-state funeral directors must not be working,” Coli said in a Teamsters news release. "From what we understand, the few funerals Dignity has performed have left families dissatisfied."

Three funeral services are scheduled at Blake-Lamb this week, where its striking community-based employees are pacing the picket line.

The Teamsters have established a website (www.integrityinillinois.com) and hotline (312-206-4123) directing families to community-friendly, independently owned funeral homes not affected by the strike.

A company spokeswoman for SCI said there is no news to report from their end.

“The company remains focused on providing continued, high-quality service to families during the strike."


DanF July 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM
A place where people go to mourn the dead... now with a carnival atmosphere. Good job Local 727 on taking the high road. /sarcasm
Jim July 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM
those strikers should be ashamed of themslves. If SCI gives into these clowns, that would impact my decision to ever choose one of their funeral homes
DanF July 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM
I love the new fence they put up to block the view of the strikers. These guys (Local 727) are giving unions a bad name.
Debora Brown July 21, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Let's get this straight--striking funeral workers r not the ones who inflated the cat! If u knew these good men and women striking u would know better. Secondly, in a town where every fourth house or so is proud union it seems to me that if it was your union striking all would be well. Strikes are ugly anywhere-- but when businesses go big corp who else will help the little guy and lady negotiate?
Harry Callahan July 22, 2013 at 09:27 AM
Aren't these Bozo's just following their leader in the WH.Americas values,morals and now our laws are a thing of the past thanks to you know who and company.


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