By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cafeteria workers and noontime aides at Philadelphia public school have agreed to a new contract that calls for wage increases and work rule changes.

The deal, retroactive to October 2013, gives members of Unite Here Local 634 modest wage increases, funded by the district suspending its contributions to the union’s health and welfare fund.

The four-year deal also calls for seniority to no longer be the sole factor in layoffs or recalls.

Cafeteria workers and noontime aides are the district’s lowest-paid workers, and schools superintendent William Hite says the union’s willingness to make a “shared sacrifice,” in his words, “sends a powerful message.”

The contract is similar to concessionary deals the district has struck with its principals’ and blue-collar workers’ unions.  The school district and the teachers’ union have been unable to agree on new labor contracts.

This agreement, already ratified by the union, goes before the School Reform Commission on Thursday for approval.