Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery sets the facts straight on union allegations - Union entrenched in its position since March 2006 - Management receptive to a new proposal from the union

    MONTREAL, June 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The management of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges
Cemetery would like to set the facts straight with regard to union allegations
made in recent days, in a strike that has lasted three weeks. Contrary to its
claims, the union that has not demonstrated any flexibility or openness since
tabling its demands in March 2006, more than two years after the collective
agreement expired.
    Management, which has clearly demonstrated its openness on several
important points-notably the pension plan-would be fully amenable to resuming
negotiations in an attempt to break the deadlock, if the union ceases to make
unrealistic demands. But the union has not budged from its position and has
never proposed any solutions that would have advanced negotiations. When it
launched an indefinite strike on May 17, the union indicated that cemetery
operations would resume the day its demands were satisfied. This is the same
union that has twice refused management's offers of conciliation.
    "We presented a proposal that included increases retroactive to January
1, 2004, improvements to the group insurance plan, a defined-benefit pension
plan and a program of departure allowances for employees aged 60 and over,
along with what represents a wage increase of more than 33% over three years,"
said Guy Dufort, negotiator and spokesperson for the cemetery.
    Moreover, the cemetery's management has observed that the union seems to
have made promises to its members that it will be unable to keep. Its demands
are utterly unreasonable in the context of the budget and would jeopardize the
cemetery's financial health and continued operations.
    For example, the union's demand to acquire prior years of service would
alone cost $15 million. Its demand to set the minimum employment period for
seasonal workers at 36 weeks is just as unrealistic, since these workers are
needed for a period of only 26 weeks. In addition, the union's inflexibility
could have disastrous consequences for its 125 or so members, more than half
of whom are seasonally employed.
    The management of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery would like to remind the
public that burials, cremations and maintenance operations have been suspended
until further notice. It apologizes once again for any inconvenience caused by
this unfortunate situation, which is beyond its control.

    About Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery

    Founded in 1854, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is the largest in Canada
and the third largest in North America, covering an area of 1.3 million square
metres. It welcomes more than 175,000 visitors annually and is administered by
the Fabrique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal.

For further information:

For further information: Guy Dufort, (514) 846-2279

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