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Charlotte bus driver secure wage increase, holiday pay in new union contract

A Charlotte Area Transit System bus drives by uptown.
Michael LoBiondo / City of Charlotte
A Charlotte Area Transit System bus drives by uptown.

The union representing city bus drivers in Charlotte voted to approve a collective bargaining agreement with the Charlotte Area Transit System on Saturday, averting a possible strike.

The vote was 20 to 1, according to a release posted on the SMART Union's website. The new contract includes higher wages, double-time for holidays and the additional holiday of Juneteenth, according to the release.

The new contract also provides for night differential pay and an increase in the pension cap, the release said, and there are also changes to the bidding of work process that favor operators who may be unable to bid when the process starts. Wage increases will be retroactive to July 1, 2022.

The vote comes after bus drivers rejected a previous contract in September that would have included a nearly 11% raise, but would also have reduced the number of days drivers can take off without a reason. Union members later voted to authorize a strike in January.