Striking Greyhound Lines' employees outside of the Salt Lake City terminal wore black armbands in memory of a driver who was killed Saturday morning in Redding, Calif. The death, which occurred when a bus driven by a replacement driver pinned a striking employee against a building, was the first fatality since drivers went on strike against the nationwide bus company Thursday.
All but three of Salt Lake's 105 regular drivers, members of Local 1384 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, are on strike, protesting in round-the-clock shifts.They amused themselves by keeping an oral count of buses not leaving on regularly scheduled runs and estimated local service is running at about 5 percent. But Tom Miceli, area general manager for Greyhound, said the terminal is operating at about 50 percent.
Whether or not travelers are still stranded is not known. A Deseret News reporter was not allowed into the small lobby area outside the building and was told that reporters are not welcome at the bus terminal. But "whole bunches" of Greyhound passengers took advantage of Amtrak's offer to honor their tickets. "You should have seen it last night," said Amtrak employee Darlene Kluesner. "And we had a few this morning. I don't know how many we'll have tonight."
Striking bus drivers said the major dispute involves plans by Greyhound to subcontract some routes to smaller bus companies, putting them out of jobs.
"They're trying to make it sound like we're striking for big money," said veteran driver Paul Flatt. "We're just trying to keep what we have. Since 1974, we've given up about $15,000 in wages and benefits."
Contract negotiations stalled Thursday and drivers, maintenance workers and office personnel began the first strike against the company since 1983. Since then, there have been scattered reports of angry confrontations between strikers and replacement drivers in other cities, including reports of striking drivers firing bullets into a bus windshield in Chicago. Union leaders appealed for calm and striking drivers in Utah said they are "on a peaceful mission. There won't be violence here."
Bernadette Barney, spokeswoman for Greyhound in Texas, said nationwide the company is running at 25 percent of normal service, up 5 percent from Friday.