NEW YORK (Feb. 28)
The New York Board of Rabbis reported today that a rabbinical delegation which met with city officials had received assurances that every effort would be made to protect the religious needs of the Jewish community on the issue of keeping Jewish cemeteries open on Sundays.
The assurances were given at a special meeting held Monday in New York City Hall, partly in connection with a threat by the Chauffeurs Union to strike. The 1, 000 drivers man the funeral cars in which bodies are delivered to cemeteries for interment. Deputy Mayor Edward F. Cavanaugh, Jr., said the strike was averted in an agreement reached at a negotiating session in City Hall last night.
The walkout, scheduled for today, would have halted many burials in the metropolitan area. The livery associations, which provide the transport service, sought to eliminate Saturday work because of a recent decision by New York area cemeteries to remain closed on that day to avoid paying grave diggers time and a half overtime on weekends. The drivers union threatened to strike if members who worked on Saturdays were reassigned to Sunday work.
The new agreement provides that men who now work on Sunday will continue to do so. Those losing Saturday work will be reassigned to a Monday-through Friday session. The Deputy Mayor told the rabbinic delegation, headed by Rabbi Salamon Faber of New York, that he had been assured by the drivers union it would supply all drivers necessary to attend to Jewish burials on Sunday.