Families locked out of Montreal cemetery ready to take action
Relatives waiting to bury their dead at Montreal's Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery say they'll resort to pressure tactics next week if an employee lockout doesn't end soon.
No one has been buried at the cemetery in 11 weeks since management locked out maintenance workers in May, after months of contract talks failed to produce an agreement.
About 500 bodies are stored in a refrigerated vault waiting for burial or cremation, including Paul Caghassi's mother, who died May 13.
"We are in a mass grave situation here," said the Montreal resident, who hasn't been able to bury his mother next to his father, in a grave that already bears her name.
Caghassi and other relatives in a similar holding pattern have sued the cemetery.
But they'd like to see the conflict come to an end soon, and will appeal to other Montrealers for help with their pressure tactics, including a letter-writing campaign.
Caghassi is also angry with Cardinal Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal, who has refused to intervene in the lockout despite repeated demands from the workers' unionand families.
The cardinalhas a duty to end the situation, said Deborah Di Tomassis, who is also part of the lawsuit.
"He's washing his hands from his responsibilities. I think that he has something to do with it, even if it's a small part in order to reassure us as Catholics."
In a statement issued Thursday, Turcotte said he's troubled by the standoff at the cemetery but hopes a conciliator called in earlier this summer will break the impasse.
But Turcotte said he will not get involved in the lockout.