CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The union that represents Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus drivers has reached a tentative labor agreement to avoid a potential strike, a source told WCNC Charlotte's Jesse Pierre.
The SMART union and RATP Dev, the company that manages bus operations, have been negotiating a new contract for months. The contract expired earlier this month when the union and management company were unable to reach a deal in time.
The union is expected to take a vote on the agreement this Saturday, Feb. 4. Details of the agreement have not been revealed. Due to state law, neither the city of Charlotte nor the agency itself has a say in these agreements.
Union members voted 254-14 in favor of striking in early January. Steven Allen, an economics professor at NC State, said once workers are organized, management is legally obligated to negotiate with that group over their wages, benefits and other conditions of employment.
Allen said a strike is not uncommon when parties cannot agree on the final terms of a labor contract.
“You're sending to management a signal that you're very, very serious about working conditions and compensation at the workplace,” Allen said.
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