December 9, 2013
AGREEMENT REACHED WITH UNION — ALL BUS SERVICE WILL RUN AS NORMAL
Charlotte, N.C. — Transit Management of Charlotte (TMOC) and the United Transportation Union (UTU) Local #1715, the union representing bus operators for 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 Thursday, December 12. 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 Carolyn Flowers, CEO of CATS. “The tentative labor agreement provides for fair compensation while balancing operations costs and maintaining services to our 70,000 weekday bus customers.” All bus service will run on regular schedule Tuesday.
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, (such as CATS,) 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. In order 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 represented by UTU.
CATS is the largest transit system between Atlanta and Washington, DC operating over 70 neighborhood, local and express routes, light line, vanpools and para-transit services. Over 84,000 weekday commuter trips are generated on the CATS system. Ridership on the CATS system has grown 36 percent since 2006 with an annual ridership of over 26 million.