Profitable Funeral Home Owners Break Off Negotiations, Force Union To Prepare For Job Actions
CHICAGO, June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Profitable Funeral Director Services Association (FDSA) funeral home owners broke off contract negotiations with Teamsters Local 727 representatives amid draconian demands, forcing the union to prepare for job actions.
After meeting for nearly six hours on June 14, FDSA employers walked away from the bargaining table without scheduling any future meetings to discuss a new contract. The current five-year FDSA contract for Local 727-represented funeral directors, embalmers and auto livery chauffeurs expires June 30.
The FDSA owners, who admitted at the bargaining table that their homes remain very profitable, proposed a three-year wage freeze because of claims of "financial hardship" â€" claims they have yet to back up with documentation.
"The union has asked time and again to see financial statements or other proof to support their claims, and all management can come up with are vague references to the state of the economy," said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. "If the owners were serious about their economic hardships, they would open their books for the union, and we would gladly work with them."
The sides have met three times over the last four weeks.
"During our last meeting, the union was completely willing and fully prepared to stay long into the night to reach an agreement, but the owners walked out," Coli said. "Instead of working with the union, they took their ball and went home because they didn't get their way."
Local 727 is planning job actions this week at multiple FDSA funeral homes in the Chicago area.
"This union will do everything it possibly can to fight for our members and secure a contract worthy of their years of hard work," Coli said.
Teamsters Local 727 has represented funeral directors, embalmers and auto livery chauffeurs for more than 70 years. Nearly 400 members working at funeral homes and facilities across the Chicago area are protected by the FDSA contract.
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