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Union Representing Bus Line Employees Agrees to Contract Extension

December 19, 1986

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ Greyhound Bus Lines and unions representing 6,300 workers have tentatively agreed to a second contract extension while negotiations continue on a new pact, the two sides said Friday.

If rank-and-file members of the Amalgamated Council of Greyhound Local Unions, representing bus drivers and other employees, approve the extension, the current contract would run through March 18, 1987, unless a new agreement is reached first.

The contract initially expired Oct. 31 but was extended during bargaining. A tentative agreement on a new contract was reached Nov. 9, but union members rejected it by a 3,183-2,110 vote. A strike vote had been scheduled to be counted Dec. 29.

Wes Ponsford, secretary-treasurer of Local No. 1508 in Los Angeles, said the vote on the proposed extension will be counted Jan. 15.

The strike authorization vote, currently being conducted by mail, will not be counted until Jan. 16, the day afterward, Ponsford said.

″If the membership approves, it looks like the company and the union will resume negotiations soon after the joint council meets,″ he said.

The proposal rejected by the rank-and-file would have cut wages by 9 percent and benefits by 5 percent. Company officials said the two-year proposal contained $32 million in concessions.

Bus drivers currently earn an average of about $25,000 a year, the company said.

The tentative agreement to extend the contract was reached Thursday as negotiators for the company and the union returned to the bargaining table for the first time since the proposed agreement was rejected.

James Cushing-Murray, president of Local No. 1222, which represents Greyhound workers in Southern California and Arizona, said he expects the extension to be approved by the union membership. He said he will recommend its acceptance.

Greyhound Corp. Chairman John Teets has said he will sell or liquidate Greyhound Lines if the union fails to accept contract concessions that he says are necessary to make the company more profitable.

The company reported an operating profit before taxes of about $30 million last year on revenues of about $710 million. However, most of the profit resulted from the one-time sale or conversion of bus terminals, which Greyhound turned over to agents Oct. 1 in a move that eliminated more than 1,500 jobs.

Union members accepted wage and and benefit cuts totaling about 15 percent following a 47-day strike in 1983.