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WHITTIER : Teamsters Picketing Cemetery Over Salaries

August 04, 1994|JOHN D. WAGNER

Teamsters Union officials have set up picket lines at a newly unionized cemetery to try to break a contract impasse.

Dozens of protesters have been picketing daily at various entrances to the 2,600-acre Rose Hills Memorial Park at 3900 S. Workman Mill Road.

A majority of the cemetery's 62 gravediggers and maintenance workers voted to be represented by the union last December. Union officials and Rose Hills managers have since been negotiating their first contract.

The union and Rose Hills managers have reached agreement on several issues, including grievance procedures, seniority, job retraining and health benefits but have deadlocked over pay and one other issue. The union is seeking across-the-board pay increases, while cemetery managers want to award raises based on merit. The union also has demanded that all eligible employees be required to join the union, a demand that Rose Hills management calls unfair.

"If they want to picket, that's fine," said Sandy V. Durko, executive vice president of Rose Hills. "But we're not going to change our positions."

Attorneys for the union and the cemetery are scheduled to meet with federal mediators Friday.

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