Bus Line Workers Approve Strike
PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ Drivers and mechanics of Greyhound Lines Inc. have authorized a strike, but no such action appeared imminent by employees of the nation’s largest intercity bus line.
During four days of meetings that ended Thursday, the 24-member Amalgamated Council of Greyhound Local Unions counted results of a strike vote taken after the company’s offer of a new contract with a 9 percent pay cut was rejected.
The union said 3,989 voted for a strike and 588 voted against.
The 6,300 drivers and other Greyhound Lines employees represented by the council have been working without a contract since Oct. 31.
Since then, Phoenix-based Greyhound Corp. has sold its Greyhound Lines subsidiary to a group headed by Dallas businessman Fred Currey for $350 million, workers turned down a proposed contract reached Nov. 9, and the old contract informally has been extended until the March 18 sale. Union members have not yet voted on the contract extension.
Greyhound Lines spokesman Herbert Doherty said if the extension were voted down, the talks would revert back to a 72-hour strike-notice agreement reached when the contract expired. A woman in the union’s office said President Domenic Sirignano was in meetings today and not available for comment.
Sirignano earlier said the union would recommend rejecting the 90-day contract extension to March 18 because it was approved with the understanding that Greyhound Lines would continue negotiating. However, no date has been set for mailing out ballots.
Doherty said the company had not bargained with the union since the sale was announced last month.
″In our view, the company did not bargain in good faith,″ Sirignano said.
Currey has met with union leaders in what he called ″informal conversations. ″ Currey has stressed that he is not negotiating for a contract, although he says a contract could result.
He also has said he intends to hire more than 1,000 drivers to strengthen the depleted work force.
Union members view the intention ″with a good deal of apprehension,″ said James Cushing-Murray, president of Local No. 1222 in Los Angeles, which represents California and Arizona employees of the bus line. He said the last time Greyhound Lines hired extra employees was in 1983, when it hired strikebreakers in preparation for a nationwide walkout that lasted 47 days.
Cushing-Murray said Currey was due back in Scottsdale next week for further talks.
″I don’t think it’s productive to speculate on what might happen until we see what he has to offer,″ Cushing-Murray said.