More than 50 Tisbury employees who belong to the town’s general union are working under a new contract that was signed last week, nearly four months after the previous three-year agreement expired June 30.

“It took awhile, but it was a very positive process,” town administrator Jay Grande said of the contract negotiations between Tisbury management and the union representing 53 town employees.

Part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local 93 in New Bedford, Tisbury’s general union includes the public works foreman and laborers, wastewater and waterworks technicians, some library staffers and some assistants to boards and departments in town hall.

Mr. Grande said both the town and the union wanted to equalize the steps — programmed raises — between job levels, a goal he said the new contract has achieved.

“We expanded out to 10 [job] grades, which allows for greater internal equity between graded positions,” he said.

“We’re trying to create a ladder for employees . . . particularly those in technical positions,” such as waterworks and wastewater, where special skills are needed, he also said.

He said the increases have now been set at 2.25 per cent for every grade increase.

“That helps with the financing of salaries for the town, and puts it on a more sustainable trajectory,” as well as being fairer to employees working their way up their town careers, Mr. Grande said.

“We addressed inequities and brought everyone to a competitive point with what we believe is the market,” he said.

“This had long been an objective of the union and the town supervisors.”

Mr. Grande said the union got off to a slow start presenting its proposals for the current contract, leading to the delay in reaching the agreement.

“They want to start much earlier next time, is what they indicated to me,” he said.