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Service Corp Rejects Teamsters' "Last and Best" Offer

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In what is seemingly becoming a more acrimonious set of negotiations, the Teamsters representing directors and drivers accused management of Service Corp International  (NYSE: SCI  ) of trying to force a strike vote by rejecting the union's "last and best" offer.

"It is clear they flew to Chicago simply to bargain their way to a strike vote by their employees," said Teamster Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer John T. Coli in a statement. 

The union says that after five days of negotiations, management offered only several tentative agreements on minor issues. The Teamsters, in turn, came back with the best, last, and final offer:

  • Wage increases of 3% in each year of a five-year contract
  • Retain current pension benefits
  • Retain current health and legal and educational benefits
  • Current contract language on nearly all work rules

SCI rejected the offer and reiterated its demand that employee pension, health, and educational assistance benefits be eliminated, seniority be eliminated along with the authority of independent arbitration. As compensation, management offered a 4% wage increase, 2% higher than its original offer.

SCI Illinois Services, a division of Service Corp that's been negotiating with the Teamsters, seemingly disputed the characterization of the negotiations in its own release. It notes it offered the union a 9% raise over two years, with 6% coming in the first year and 3% in the second, as well as giving all new hires a 2% raise.

They also want union employees to start contributing to their health-care costs, something they've been shielded from thus far. "Asking employees to contribute at least something toward those costs has become commonplace in this country," said the division's managing director, Larry Michael. "The wage increases being offered far exceed the amount of any potential co-pay." He also point out they're capped at $50 per month.

Moreover, SCI hasn't sought to eliminate or reduce any benefits, but rather it wants to give  employees the choice to opt out and receive cash compensation if they decide they do not want or need the health-care plan or the legal and educational assistance plan. Heretofore, employees have been required to participate in these plans whether they want or need them.

SCI also wants to replace the Teamsters pension plan with a 401(k) plan because the pension has a history of underfunding, there's doubt whether pensioners will receive the benefits promised, and it's been an ongoing source of litigation for the union. SCI's proposal offers a dollar-for-dollar match up to 4% of annual income.

The Teamsters were to present the funeral directors and drivers with Service Corp's proposal tonight for a vote, and if it was rejected, they'd immediately take a vote to go on strike. No word as yet on how the secret ballots were cast.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (1)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2013, at 11:31 PM, bugmenot wrote:

    Illinois and Chicago is already under duress from Democrats and Unions. The people might vote all Democrats out of office and demand that all labor unions be declared terrorists.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2013, at 12:07 AM, taug99 wrote:

    Let me guess what the teamsters best offer was,






    The perfect business recipe,


  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2013, at 7:54 AM, altonlee wrote:

    Well all I can say if you people vote the teamsters in get ready to bend over with out any lube.

    I worked under the teamsters, and when I got old enough to retire I applied for retirement and was told that the gov had allowed the teamsters to cut the retirement payment to $200.00 per month take it or leave it.

    Went to a lawyer and was told by several that I could not prove the teamsters did anything wrong. But if I could come up with 15 or 20 they would take the case.

    I will never have anything good to say about the teamsters. Even while working they did nothing to protect the workers.

    Called my senator and was told that I had to get my work history, which the company UPS would not release, they said I had to get my work history from the union. The teamsters only shows that I worked 5 or 6 years.

    So go ahead and enjoy giving your money so these crooks can live royally.

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