The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 78/No. 18      May 12, 2014

Greyhound workers rally,
reject wage-freeze contract
LOS ANGELES — “What do we want? Equal pay!” chanted some 60 Greyhound Lines workers and supporters outside the bus terminal here April 26. They were encouraging ticket agents, janitors, food service, baggage and other terminal workers to vote no to the company’s contract proposal. Later that day, union members voted to reject it by a large margin.

Similar demonstrations were held in Atlanta and Cleveland.

“Greyhound’s latest offer includes no pay raise for terminal workers. Instead, they offer a $500 bribe that we reject,” Jimmie McCoy, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1700, which organizes Greyhound workers across the country, told the rally. He was referring to the company’s $500 contract-signing bonus offer. The agreement covers workers at eight southern California terminals. Bus drivers are covered by a separate contract.

The union is also demanding that the company reinstate Patricia Vidrio, a food service worker for 19 years at the Los Angeles terminal. Vidrio took a leave to travel to Mexico to bury her mother. Upon returning to work Greyhound told her she was fired for being absent more than five days.

“My mother was also a Greyhound worker for almost 20 years,” Vidrio told the rally. “Am I not allowed to grieve? I’m not asking for anything. I just want my job back.”

After she spoke the crowd chanted, “Bring Patty back!”

“There is a tremendous gap between pay for drivers and terminal workers,” Sindy Vasquez, a driver who is the local’s executive vice president, told the Militant. “There are janitors who have been here 21 years who are make $11 and change an hour. We demand that they raise the wage to a minimum of $15.”

“We’re the younger workers, we’re the future of labor,” said Jonathan Garrido, 27, a shop steward who works in Package Express. “If we don’t fight, who will fight for us?”

Rosario Martinez, a ticket agent for seven years, said this fight is about respect. “There is a lot of intimidation. You shouldn’t feel threatened when you come to work.”

Greyhound spokesperson Lanesha Gipson would not comment on the wage freeze for terminal workers or the firing of Vidrio.

“This is Greyhound’s 100th birthday,” McCoy told the rally. “And we baked the cake, we lit the candles, we cut the cake, but we aren’t even getting crumbs from it. We are not even invited to the party.”  
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