Sunday, May 20, 2007

Unionized Graveyard Workers Disturb Mass

A quick translation of this article.

Eighty unionized workers of the cemetary in Côte-des-Neiges (Montreal) are in lockout. On Sunday, they came to disturb the Mass comemorating the 350th anniversary of the arrival of Sulpician priests in Montreal, in front of Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal.

The Basilica and the cemetary are both by the "fabrique" (think "council") of the parish of Notre-Dame. The religious staff is made up of Sulpicians.

The workers wanted to get the attention of the Sulpicians, the dignitaries and of the greater public, for their cause.

Tens of whistles and sirens were sounded off. The noise replaced the usual contemplative atmosphere that is normally found during religious ceremonies.

The unionized workers voted on a mandate to strike, despite the lockout that has been in place for about a week.

Negotiations are on-going about the retirement plan, a four-day work-week, sub-contracting, compensation packages,and a guaranteed work-week of 36 weeks, for those temporary workers who only get 26 hours a week.

The union has 129 workers, 72 of which are seasonal.

If the conflict is not resolved in eight weeks, funeral homes will have to take charge of storing the bodies. The cemetary can receive 50 bodies a week, for a total capacity of 400 [per season, I imagine].


According to a spokesperson for the cemetary, union stickers were stuck on grave markers, and garbage was strewn on the premises.

Among the dead in this cemetary: Former Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau, Robert Bourassa and Maurice "the Rocket" Richard.

H/T: Ephata.

Helene at Ephata says: if such a thing were done to Jewish or Muslim gravemarkers, there would have been an uproar-- but because it's a Catholic cemetary, oh well.

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