WEEHAWKEN -- Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and the Township Council approved a four-year American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3166 Union contract and passed a resolution requiring all township employees be residents during a council meeting Wednesday night.
The AFSCME contract – which begins retroactively on July 1, 2010 and extends through June 30, 2014 – will provide for a six percent total salary raise: zero percent from 2010, and two percent per each year thereafter. This means that crossing guards, specifically, will receive no raise for the first year and the equivalent of 50 cents per day for each four-hour work day thereafter.
The contract also stipulates that the $150 normally allotted to union members for clothing will be retracted and uniforms will be distributed instead to maintain consistency of workers’ appearance, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The residency ordinance, which was passed unanimously, requires that municipal employees live in the township, with certain exceptions made for those selected from the state-mandated civil service list or health reasons. It is not a large issue, Turner said, since nearly 95 percent of town workers live in Weehawken already. Police and firefighters are exempt from this ordinance due to a ruling made several years ago by the state supreme court.
“If you live in the town you work in, you have more pride in your community, you see things you may not see otherwise, you hear what the neighbors think;” Turner explained, “Especially in a small town. In many key positions, the further away a person moves the more dangerous it is, because it’s very hard for a lot of individuals to get here on time in person from very far away.”
The town also received the American flag flown on the World Trade Center in 2011 for the 10-year anniversary and a letter of commendation from Gov. Christopher Christie’s office in honor of the aid given during 9/11. – Gennarose Pope