CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Unionized CATS drivers gave their 48 hour notice on Sunday to stop working and essentially go on strike.

Their deadline was 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Monday afternoon, Transit Management of Charlotte and the United Transportation Union Local #1715 reached a tentative agreement on a new, three-year labor contract.

Under the agreement, bus operations will continue as reguarly-scheduled until a vote by the full union can be made. That vote is scheduled for Thursday.

CATS and the City of Charlotteare not directly negotiating with the union, because North Carolina doesn't allow collective bargaining withgovernment employees.

Instead, the drivers work for a private contractor known as Transportation Management of Charlotte.

TMOC and the drivers union have been negotiating a new contract since July.

TMOC's chief negotiator said Sunday that of 600 CATS bus drivers in Charlotte, only about half belong to the UTU Local 1715. As of Sunday evening, a little more than half of the union members, or about 160 members, voted to strike.

The strike would not have impact services to Light Rail, Special Transportation, or CATS Van Pools.

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