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Striking Cemetery Union Nixes Demands to Provide Workers to Bury Orthodox Dead

Local 365 of the Cemetery and Green Workers Union, on strike here, has flatly rejected a request made this week by the Emergency Committee for Jewish Burial to provide workers to bury the Orthodox dead. “We would be breaking our own strike,” Sam Cimaglia, vice president of the local told the JTA. “We originally agreed to allow six members of the family of the deceased to dig the grave, if a Rabbi testified as to their Orthodoxy. We did not say that we would provide men. This is a misinterpretation on the Committee’s part.”

Some families, in response to the emergency conditions, have been flying their dead to Israel. Two New York undertakers specialize in this service; they can have burial in Israel within 24 hours after death. A spokesman for the Emergency Committee, who asked not to be identified, told the JTA that he attaches the blame for the lengthy strike to the cemetery owners. He quotes one of them as saying: “What’s the rush. Our clients are not going anywhere.”