Cremation service workers unionize


Workers who help people prepare cremation plans voted 5-0 Oct. 4 to join International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 89. The new unit includes six funeral directors and office coordinators at Neptune Cremation in Happy Valley.

Neptune Cremation is owned by Neptune Society, the largest provider of affordable cremation services in the nation. The company specializes in “advance agreements,” or plans for how to handle a body when someone dies.

IBEW Local 89 represents workers in telecommunications installation and repair, warehousing, and clerical work. In April 2022, Local 89 bargained a first contract for workers at Recompose, a green funeral home in Seattle that turns bodies into compost.

Local 89 organizer Justin Roberts said workers at Neptune contacted the union to ask for representation after a manager was terminated and the position was left vacant.

Local 89 asked first for voluntary recognition, but Neptune did not respond. The company hired Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, an anti-union law firm.

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