Montreal families frustrated as cemetery closure due to labour dispute stretches into 6th month

Montreal families frustrated as cemetery closure due to labour dispute stretches into 6th month

Regardless of opening on Mom’s Day, the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery, shuttered since January resulting from a labour dispute, will stay closed on Father’s Day. 

The cemetery opened final month for a single day to permit relations to go to their family members’ graves however giant lineups shaped on the solely open entrance. It was the primary time the cemetery had been open to the general public in months. 

“For certain it was actually widespread nevertheless it was a catastrophe,” stated Éric Dufault, the president of the union representing workplace staff on the cemetery. “We have been there on Mom’s Day and actually it was a nasty expertise for the households.”

The cemetery’s closure, now in its sixth month, continues to frustrate households who can’t go to their family members’ graves or bury their relations. Greater than 300 our bodies are at the moment in storage awaiting burial because the labour dispute drags on.

“It’s time that each side come to a conclusion,” stated Michael Musacchio, whose daughter, Vanessa Musacchio, is buried within the cemetery. “It’s a must to put humanity again within the equation.”

Musacchio, who has been pushing for the cemetery to open, stated the grounds are overgrown and suffering from branches that fell throughout an ice storm that hit Quebec on April 5.

“The cemetery is actually a catastrophe zone. It’ll take plenty of months to scrub up when the strike is resolved,” he stated. 

In the meantime, negotiations, with the cemetery’s upkeep and workplace staff on one aspect and administration on the opposite, seem to have stalled.

Dufault stated the primary negotiation sticking level was administration’s refusal to budge on two of the employees’ calls for: a pay improve that features again pay and staff’ want to take care of or improve staffing ranges.

Daniel Granger, spokesperson for the cemetery, stated the non-profit that runs the location depends on income from the households of the deceased. It must be extra environment friendly and have the ability to function at a worth that it will possibly afford, he stated. 

The deadlock means the cemetery should stay closed, Granger stated. The tree limbs and overgrown vegetation are hazardous to guests, he stated. A small workforce of managers was in a position to clear some branches in time for Mom’s Day, however there may be nonetheless an excessive amount of work to be achieved.

A few of the headstones at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges have been broken within the storm. Felled branches nonetheless block most of the cemetery’s paths. (Valeria Cori-Manocchio/CBC)

“We’d like our folks again to do that cleanup,” he stated. 

Cemetery administration stated in an announcement that they’d proposed a brief truce to the strike to help within the cleanup and permit the cemetery to reopen for just a few days, however union leaders declined the provide. 

Dufault stated the employees needed to return and look after the location on a full-time foundation — not only for just a few days. 

Musacchio is urging the Quebec authorities to step in to convey the strike to an finish. 

Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet stated in an announcement that he has appointed two mediators to assist the events attain a typical settlement. 

“We’ll be certain that the method of discovering options continues,” he stated. “We will likely be ready to take additional steps if the events fail to discover a resolution rapidly. This battle has gone on for too lengthy.”

In the meantime, Musacchio and the opposite households can solely wait. 

“We’re not right here to choose sides,” he stated. “The employees have the fitting to strike. The employer has the fitting to barter. Nonetheless, after six months of doing this and no decision, our bodies are piling up.”

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