December 10, 2013

Charlotte's transit system, union reach agreement

Transit Management of Charlotte (TMOC) and the United Transportation Union (UTU) Local #1715, the union representing bus operators for Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus services, have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year labor contract.

Under the tentative agreement, bus operations will continue with regular service while a vote by the full union membership is scheduled for Thursday. Both parties have been in contract negotiations throughout the summer and fall.

“We are pleased that TMOC and its employees were able to reach a tentative labor agreement that maintains service to CATS customers,” said CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers. “The tentative labor agreement provides for fair compensation while balancing operations costs and maintaining services to our 70,000 weekday bus customers.”

CATS contracts with McDonald Transportation, a private management company, to employ transit bus drivers, manage day-to-day operations and to conduct union negotiations.

TMOC is the subsidiary of McDonald Transportation that directly employs the bus drivers. This is a normal structure for transit systems in North Carolina to comply with federal and state law.

Federal law requires that public transit enterprises, which receive federal funds, must allow for the continuation of collective bargaining rights of bus drivers and mechanics.

However, North Carolina law does not allow cities, the state or any level of government to enter into any kind of agreement with labor organizations as the bargaining agent for public employees. To comply with both state and federal law, it is necessary for CATS bus drivers and mechanics to be employed by a private professional management company contracted with CATS.

TMOC employs 599 bus operators and 149 mechanics which are presented by UTU.

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