CATS drivers submit intent to go on strike

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - CATS bus drivers are getting even closer to a strike, potentially leaving thousands of riders stranded come Tuesday.

"People got to get to work," Brial Moore said. "My son has to go to school."

"I catch the bus every day going to work," Latasha Stokes said.

People in Charlotte are concerned. The union that represents around 600 CATS bus drivers says it's ready to strike if it can't come to a final agreement with Transit Management of Charlotte, the company it's negotiating with.

"From our perspective, we've done everything they've asked for," John Bartosiewicz, with Transit Management of Charlotte, said. "And we're confused as to why they think we haven't."

Tonight, the negotiator for the company told Eyewitness news they've met most of the drivers' demands. The last issue is over restrictions on how full-time operators pick their work. The union says the restrictions made by the company are unacceptable. Riders are caught in the .

"It would be bad," Stokes said about a possible strike. "People would be out of jobs. It would be terrible-people can't get their kids at the day care, can't get to appointments. It would be real bad."

Most people Eyewitness News spoke with at the transportation center didn't want the drivers to go on strike, but one man said he was sympathetic to their fight. He still hopes they reach an agreement.

"I would hope so but if not, hey strike [if] it's necessary," Angelo Kendrick said.

The union says they're still working on hammering out a final deal and still hope to avoid inconveniencing riders.

A spokeswoman for CATS said they're disappointed with the union. CATS officials hope to have a contingency plan for riders. They said everything but the buses will run as usual on Tuesday, including the light rail.

They hope to have enough people working to operate a bus schedule that will be close to what the Sunday schedule looks like, if the union does strike. They'll release a more detailed plan on Monday.