Both sides were upbeat Tuesday as Scott commissioners ratified a new labor agreement with employees of the township's Public Works Department, who had been working without a new contract for 15 months.
"I'm very happy we finally reached this resolution. Everybody gave a little bit," said Board President Tom Castello following the unanimous ratification vote. Commissioner David Jason was absent because of illness. The union has already ratified the contract.
The new agreement, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, will expire Dec. 31, 2015. It provides for 3 percent wage increases in each of the years. Pension contributions will be 4.5 percent in 2012 and 2013, but will be capped in the future at 6 percent of wages.
Hospitalization premiums cost employees $25 a month this year, $30 a month in 2014 and $40 a month in 2015.
The new contract also resolves a dispute about overtime on call-outs for summer and winter work for the 15 employes who are members of Teamsters Local 249. Starting Nov. 1, all parks and public works employees will be on overtime call for summer and winter calls. No discipline will be taken for passing calls in the summer, with the exception of the three certified pool employees who will have first preference over newcomers.
Also, the labor agreement establishes regulations for hiring subcontractors to cut grass on private properties that are in violation of township codes and ordinances. Public works employees will cut the first 10 yards, but subcontractors may be used for the remaining unkempt properties as long as no public works members are laid off.
No one will be promoted to the position of mechanic without having a certificate or diploma in automotive and diesel technology from an technical institute the township deems acceptable. Also, officials may test for the mechanic's position. If a current bargaining unit member does not meet these qualifications, the township may hire a new employee to fill the job.
Attorney Gary Alward represented the public works employees in the negotiations. He was at Tuesday's meeting along with many of the public works employees.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: email@example.com