One of Chicago's most politically powerful labor unions has been ordered by a judge to halt picketing against 16 funeral homes after receiving reports that the striking Teamsters had, among other things, disturbed a funeral for a child.
SCI Illinois Services, Inc., which is one of the country’s largest funeral home chains, asked a district court to intervene after striking funeral directors and drivers with Teamsters Local 727 allegedly harassed grieving families.
"We are grateful that the court agreed to issue this temporary restraining order, and we are hopeful that it will help protect grieving families who are experiencing the most difficult times of their lives," Larry Michael, managing director for SCI Illinois Services, Inc., said in a release, according to Fox News.
"While we recognize and respect the Teamsters' right to lawfully picket, we have been shocked and saddened by their attempts to make grieving families the target of the cruel and outrageous attacks."
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In its filing, the company testified that union members blocked grieving family members from leaving its parking lot, used bullhorns to shout obscenities at workers and mourners, and unleashed a German Shepard on a dead woman’s daughter and husband.
The funeral home was eventually forced to call the police when picketers allegedly disrupted a child’s funeral with laughter. The officer asked the Teamsters to leave, but protesters returned when he drove away, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
“We will be here for the visitation; we will be here for your funeral,” Teamster driver Lester Plewa allegedly shouted into a bullhorn as a funeral director met with a dying man planning his arrangements with family members.
The Teamsters have been on strike for a month after rejecting the company’s offer of nine percent raises for all union members over the next two years.