March 4, 2014 at 6:55 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ – After nearly three years of negotiation, workers of the Livingston Department of Public Works (DPW) voted on a union package for ratification.
With all but a handful of members of the department voting yes to the package, a memorandum of agreement between Livingston Township and Teamsters Local 469 was signed by respective representatives, Livingston Township Manager Michele Meade and Mike Broderick, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local 469.
“It was a long, drawn-out process,” said Broderick. “We’re still going through some growing pains, (but) membership was very satisfied with the package that was presented for ratification. We’re looking forward to a long relationship with Livingston.”
Broderick explained that there were still “internal issues with management and DPW supervisors” which contributed to the lengthy process that began in November 2011.
“We wanted to unionize because we got tired of how we were being treated and being spoken to by supervisors,” said Bill Peckholdt, a current DPW worker.
According to Peckholdt, a petition outlining the workers wishes to unionize was circulated throughout the department in 2011. “After that we spoke to a few different unions and decided on Local 469 because they had a great relationship with the state.”
The specifics of the member package have not yet been released, as the official contract still needs to be voted on by the Township Council at its next regular meeting.
According to Meade, the Township Council discussed the final agreement at a closed meeting yesterday.
“If they feel that everything is in order, it is anticipated that the council with authorize the agreement on Monday, March 24," Meade said. "At that point, the agreement becomes final.”