Shooting at Greyhound

`TAKE the bus, and leave the ducking to us.'' That variant on the old Greyhound Bus slogan must be in many passengers' minds these days. Gunshots have been fired at some 26 Greyhound buses around the country - wounding several passengers - since the company's drivers and other workers began a strike March 2. Other violence against the company has been reported, too. Last week a bus was burned in a Greyhound garage in Boston, with the signs pointing to arson. Who's responsible for the shootings and burning? The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents the workers? The company, in a Machiavellian attempt to discredit the union? Embittered workers, acting without union sanction? Or just trigger-happy thrill-seekers? (Greyhound sued the union Monday, claiming criminal disruption.)

The best bet is that the terrorism has been committed by a handful of militant renegade workers, and possibly some copycat outsiders. Union leaders say they are powerless to stop the violence.

Certainly the union should do all in its power to control hotheaded members. But if the strike leaders are sincere in decrying the reprehensible incidents, then Greyhound's management is acting irresponsibly in refusing to negotiate until the incidents end. For only progress toward a settlement is likely to put a stop to the flying bullets that are endangering innocent passengers.

Some observers think that Greyhound is out to bust the union. The company denies this. But consider: Hiring replacement drivers in a tight labor market, Greyhound is having to woo experienced drivers from other companies. That can't be cheap. So will the company really save much money by refusing to reinstate wage cuts Greyhound workers took several years ago? Maybe it just wants to replace union workers with nonunion ones.

That's its prerogative, as long as it doesn't commit unfair labor practices. But it would be shameful if Greyhound's labor-relations strategy is providing cover for reckless men with rifles.

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