BERNARDS TWP., NJ - A union contract with the township's Department of Public Works, taking effect on July 1 and extending for three years, was approved on Tuesday night by the Bernards Township Committee.

The contract includes almost 40 DPW employees, Township Administrator Bruce McArthur said following Tuesday's meeting.

The pact provides an annual raise of about 2 percent to employees at the top of a 10-step salary guide, McArthur said. 

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Those who are not at the top of the guide will move up a step, he explained.

[Information added] Most new hires in the DPW department are either laborers or groundskeepers, who earn $15.09 or $15.38 per hour, respectively, on the first step of the scale, McArthur added later in the week in response to an email question.

The top of the scale is $30.94 per hour for a working foreman, according to township figures.

However, the township helped curb costs in a previous contract by stretching up to 10 the number of steps that DPW employees need to reach the top of the guide from six, the prior number of steps, McArthur said.

Another way to help control salary costs in the department include allowing workers to take more comp time in lieu of overtime pay, he said.

The DPW employees are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Local 469, according to the meeting agenda.