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BPWA Contract Includes 2% Raise, Sick Pay Cap

The council approves a contract with the Bridgewater Public Works Association.

The township council approved a contract Thursday with the Bridgewater Public Works Association that will include 2 percent raises and create a bank of sick time.

The contract as approved will last for 2012 and 2013.

"It was a very successful negotiation between the parties," said township administrator James Naples.

As for changes to the contract from previous years, the newest creates a 2 percent raise increase for the two-year life of the contract.

"It is a 2 percent increase from the 2011 rates, and is 2 percent each year," Naples said.

Naples said the contract also creates a bank of sick time and establishes a set dollar limit to be paid to workers upon their retirement. Anything past that established accrual, Naples said, will not be paid for upon retirement.

"That's a highlight that should be made known, and was agreed to by both parties," he said.

Councilman Matthew Moench said he is especially pleased by this provision in the contract.

"The elimination of sick pay going forward is a huge accomplishment," he said. "This is the first contract, and hopefully the first of many, that will eliminate that discussion going forward."

Moench said he hopes this change is made for contracts with non-union employees as well as union employees.

"If we are going to set this as a standard [for union], hopefully we do it for non-union going forward," he said. "Traditionally we have modeled non-union contracts after union ones in terms of benefits."

Also in the contract, Naples said, is the addition of the cost of uniforms. In 2011, he said, it was determined that employees would paid for their own uniforms, but, going forward, the township will pay for them.

"Employees will still be responsible for the cleaning of uniforms," he said.

Council members praised the contract and the changes that were made.

"I commend the administration on a job well done," councilman Filipe Pedroso said. "The contract is equitable in that it certainly provides raises to employees, and, at the same time, protects Bridgewater taxpayers."

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