Fresno Co. SEIU strike may delay burial process

FRESNO, Calif.

Members of SEIU say they are prepared to hit the picket lines Monday, and funeral directors say if an arrangement isn't made now, it could be another headache for those already grieving.

Planning a funeral is a complex process. Aside from the services, there's official paperwork that also must be filed. 24 hours ago local funeral directors found some unsettling news that has them scrambling for a solution.

Michael Rabara is a local funeral director whose job is very unique. His customers are often crying, upset and facing difficult choices. So when he heard about a looming strike and how it could delay burials, he immediately became concerned.

Michael Rabara said, "It threw us into a tailspin yesterday, we didn't realize it was going to affect our industry."

The issue is getting death certificates and applications for burial permits processed in a timely fashion at the Fresno County Health Department. The current process is electronic and the clerical workers who file the paperwork are set to go on strike.

Michael Rabara said, "It's important because the politics that are around this strike obviously it's a ripple effect, it's going to affect the families that we serve and obviously the family is distraught when they come into our care and we want to make this as smooth as possible."

Friday funeral directors held an emergency meeting with Fresno County officials, to work on a plan that would allow the process to continue.

The concern is that burials could be held up by several days if the process must be done manually. Not only that, some families with specific religious beliefs require burial within a certain time frame after their loved one has passed away.

Funeral directors hope they won't be put in a position to deliver more bad news during such an emotional time.

Late Friday afternoon, the Funeral Directors Association offered to help assist one supervisor to help get these documents registered and filed. But, now the supervisor must become certified through the state to be able to file these death documents.

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