Tag Archive | "Woodlawn"

Family accuses Bronx cemetery of losing grandma’s ashes, NY Daily News

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is facing accusations of misplacing the ashes of a local grandmother, according to the NY Daily News.

Elisabeth Delfini’s family claimed that Woodlawn lost her ashes in February and then lied about the loss.

The alleged mishap is the second at a major Bronx cemetery in the last year. Recently, St. Raymond Cemetery was accused of burying the remains of a woman in the wrong grave.

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Meals-On-Wheels in Woodlawn is a hit, NY Daily News

Kathleen Brick, a 79-year-old Woodlawn woman, has been having a hard time getting around since her double knee surgery, so she’s taking advantage of the new Meals-On-Wheels delivery in the area, New York Daily News.

The nationwide program started in Woodlawn about six weeks ago, coordinated out of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, reports the Daily News. It provides a free hot meal every day for seniors via a local catering company, Culinary Concepts.

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Community leaders back Woodlawn cemetery workers

A proposed budget bill by the Wisconsin governor that would take away unions’ bargaining rights was invoked several times as members of the group South Bronx Community Congress stood with Woodlawn Cemetery workers Monday.

Joining the South Bronx Community Congress, clergy, union leaders, members of the Green Party and the Freedom Party called for support in a protest planned for Monday in front of the cemetery.

“I am here supporting the workers,” said Pastor Doug Cunningham of the New Day United Methodist Church in the Bronx. “The treatment of workers is outrageous. It’s a threat to the economy and the community of the Bronx.”

An ongoing labor dispute brought the Woodlawn Cemetery into spotlight recently. The cemetery management proposed cutting 23 out of 38 landscaping jobs and outsourcing the work to a private firm, the Brickman Group.

While the negotiations between the management and workers’ union are still going on, Dee Knight, the labor community forum coordinator for the South Bronx Community Congress said that the group believes that the management is finalizing the deal with the Brickman Group and getting ready to let go of the workers.

However the Woodlawn Cemetery spokesman Howard Cannon denied the assertion and said that the matter is still under review and no deal has been made as yet.

“Discussions are still going on with the Brickman Group,” said Cannon.

The community leaders claimed that by outsourcing the landscaping work, the cemetery is getting rid of good paying jobs in the favor of cheap labor by immigrant “guest” workers. Teresa Gutierrez from the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights said that bringing in immigrant workers would be an injustice to the Woodlawn workers and the immigrant workers themselves.

“We are struggling to keep jobs in both sides of the border,’’ Gutierrez said. “We don’t want workers from other countries to come and work in hostile, racist environment.”

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Woodlawn Cemetery and workers lock horns over proposed layoffs

Woodlawn Cemetery and workers lock horns over proposed layoffs

By Sana Taskeen Gulzar

Woodlawn Cemetery is known for the famous people who are buried there, from Miles Davis to Robert Moses. But an ongoing labor dispute has put the sprawling burial ground in the spotlight for a different reason. Controversy brews over the cemetery’s plan to lay off 23 union workers and to outsource the landscaping of the cemetery to a private landscaping firm.

The famous Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is embroiled in controversy over proposed worker lay offs.

The Woodlawn workers claim that the management announced the decision to lay off 23 out of 38 workers at the cemetery right after a new workers’ union was voted in last October. Enrique Coss, one of the workers, says management did not want to deal with a strong workers’ union, the teamsters

“Management always had their way,” said Coss. “They were always able to have control and were in bed with the previous unions,” he said.

According to the current workers’ union, Local Teamster 808, the cemetery management took the decision of outsourcing 23 landscaping jobs in November last year after only one negotiation session. Chris Silvera, the secretary- treasurer of the union, alleged that the management retaliated against the workers who joined the union in October.

“They run the cemetery plantation style,” said Silvera. “It’s not a racial thing, but [the] company wants to treat people at their own discretion. You just do what I tell you to do,” he said.

The cemetery management denies the allegation. Howard Cannon, a spokesman for Woodlawn Cemetery, said that another union already represented the workers before the teamsters got voted in. Cannon asserted that the union was aware of the existing four-year contract with the workers set to expire on December 31. The management, still in negotiations with workers, has not made the final decision about the layoffs. “We are on the negotiating table every day; there have been no layoffs, we are still negotiating,” said Cannon. “If the management was interested in laying off workers, it would not have been on the negotiating table,” he said.

The cemetery management claims it only asked workers’ union for possible suggestions to save $731,000 in operational costs. The cemetery is deciding between outsourcing the jobs to the Brickman Group, a company that operates in 29 states, or cutting wages 35 percent.

Cannon says the cemetery business is in flux, forcing the management to reevaluate their needs and costs.

“Cremations have increased 512 percent since 1985,” said Cannon. “If there is a significant decrease in burials, then we need to readjust our work force,” he added.

But Coss asserts that even with increased number of cremations, the nature of the job doesn’t change much, as the 400 acres of land has to be maintained.

“They will be doing an injustice to the lot owners,’’ he said. “They would be walking into a jungle or a forest.”

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