To the Editor:
I’m a member of the Teamsters Union Local 727. How can a funeral home owner be a teamster? Illinois is a forced-union state, which means if you gain employment at a union shop, you must join the union.
Many moons ago, Chicago funeral homes came under the teamsters umbrella because of livery, such as hearses, limos and transfer vehicles. I was forced to join the union when I gained employment at a Chicago funeral home.
When I bought a funeral home in McHenry County, which was not under the union umbrella, the union offered to allow me to continue. I opted to stay in the union because they had a Cadillac health care plan.
That said, I will bare the soul of a 30-year private sector union member. If I retired tomorrow, I would receive $3,000 a month for the rest of my life, with no increase. Currently I’m paying $1,849 a month, ($1,015 for health insurance, $834 for pension and welfare.) This is the same contribution I’d make as owner for an employee, and there is no additional employee contribution toward health or pension. Upon retirement, I can keep my health insurance for three months and then I’d have to get my own. My pension is not based on salary but a simple formula of $100 for every year one is fully vested, thus the $3,000 for 30 years. I also pay $275 a quarter for union dues.
Why such a disparity in pension plans between the private and public union sectors? Could it be that private sector unions are negotiating with private sector companies that are dealing with bottom lines to stay in business?