Union leaders representing more than 6,000 employees of Greyhound Lines reached agreement Tuesday on a three-year contract with an investment group that plans to buy the nation's largest bus company.
Members of the Greyhound Council of the Amalgamated Transit Union voted 20-3 to accept a contract proposal that includes guaranteed job security for drivers and mechanics with at least five years of service, both sides said in a joint statement.
The agreement, which will be sent to Greyhound employees for a vote, was reached with Fred G. Currey, head of the group buying Phoenix-based Greyhound for about $350 million.
"The council will issue a strong recommendation for ratification of the agreement, which provides for seniority, health and welfare benefits, pension benefits and most important, job guarantees," the statement said.
Currey called the contract proposal "an innovative agreement that will build productivity, thereby building the company and protecting jobs." He said he would meet with the union's rank and file to discuss the agreement.
Union members, who rejected a proposed contract with Greyhound last year, had voted overwhelmingly to give their leaders authority to call a strike if the talks with the Currey group failed.
Dominic Sirigano, president of the Greyhound union council, said the negotiations that ended Tuesday were "unusual."
"Currey, rather than coming to the table to see how much he could squeeze from the employees, came to ask the employees to work with him in rebuilding the company and to share the benefits of the results," Sirigano said in the statement.
Under the present Greyhound contract, which expired last fall but has been extended to March 19, the top scale for bus drivers is about $50,000 a year, said union spokesman Dick Simpson. The average annual salary is about $26,000, he said.
No figures were immediately available on what effect the new agreement, if ratified, would have on average salaries.