Funeral home chain could go union


Teamsters Local 305 has launched an organizing campaign for undertakers in Oregon and Washington.

On April 14, Local 305 asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a union election for 120 funeral directors, embalmers, grounds crew workers, crematory operators, family services counselors, removal techs, and office staff at multiple funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries owned by Service Corporation International. Service Corporation International is the largest provider of funeral and cemetery services in North America. It operates more than 1,900 locations across the United States and Canada, including Dignity Memorial-branded funeral homes like Bateman Carroll Funeral Home, Ross Hollywood Chapel, and Skyline Memorial Gardens in Oregon. 

Local 305 President David Schmidt said workers contacted the union after organizing internally for nearly a year. The proposed unit would cover 21 facilities across nine cities and two states; a supermajority of the workers signed union authorization cards before Local 305 asked for an election.

“We are going after the whole ball of wax … but from what I’ve gathered over many discussions with them, the group seems very confident in sticking together as a whole,” Schmidt said. 

Local 305 represents a similar though smaller group of workers at Riverview Abbey Funeral Home in Portland. Workers at Neptune Cremation in Happy Valley, one of Service Corporation International’s “Neptune Society” brand locations, organized with IBEW Local 89 last year.

On April 19, Service Corporation International asked the NLRB for more time to respond to Local 305’s election request because of the “extraordinary circumstances” of reviewing such a widespread group of worksites and workers. 


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