Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Today's Not A Good Day To Die!

You've heard news reports of sanitation worker union strikes, nurses' union strikes, hotel union strikes and even professional sports (NFL) union lockout type strikes. Well today's union striking news is just wrong; dead wrong.

A grave diggers' union, along with other cemetery personnel at Colma's Woodlawn Memorial Park in California has put down the shovel and taken up the picket sign in a dispute with owner's over pay decreases, pension replacement and increased health insurance contributions.

Immediately I chose to side with the gravediggers. I know businesses must tighten their budgets in this economic downturn, but when Houston Service Corporation International, the largest cemetery company in the United States and owner of Woodlawn, cleared net profits of $126 million in 2010, I say they can afford to continue providing for the workers that make it all possible. Shucks, the CEO only pocketed $2.65 million in that profitable year, compared to Goldman Sachs that's janitor's pay. Why not continue spreading the wealth amongst all?

In the meantime, Union Representatives for Local Union 265 of the Service Employees International Union, are continuing talks with the corporate owners while employees walk picket lines at the entrance to the cemetery grounds.

The corporate owners have brought in non-union (SCAB) workers to do the digging and keep the grounds looking.........undisturbed and peaceful. But this fight is in the early rounds and I suspect the gravediggers aren't planning to roll over and give in to corporate pressure. Nobody's gonna 'stiff' them out of anything.

There are 16 other cemeteries in Colma which service the San Francisco Bay Area. Woodlawn has the only non-local owner after being sold in 1997. Figures that only an out-of-towner would be so inconsiderate and disrespectful of workers who provide a unique service to humanity. A service mind you, that a large majority of us will come to use one day.

Just pray that day don't come anytime soon or you might find yourself or a deceased loved one in a shallow grave, tilting towards hell after heavy rains soak the unlevel burial ground. Let Us Pray!

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