Cafeteria workers in St. Paul Public Schools voted Thursday night to approve a new two-year contract that calls for starting-wage increases, cost-of-living increases and improved pay for longtime employees.

The agreement between the schools and Teamsters 320 will be voted on by the school board on Nov. 14.

The contract runs from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2019. It includes 2 percent wage increases at the start of 2018 and 2019. After cost-of-living adjustments, employees making less than $15 an hour will move to $15 an hour starting June 22, 2019.

Employees with 10 years of service will receive 5 cents above the normal hourly pay on Jan. 6, 2019; those with 15 years of service will receive 15 cents above the hourly rate. That will increase to 15 cents and 35 cents, respectively, in mid-2019.

Cost-of-living increases will take effect in January 2018 and 2019 instead of July, which was typical.

The contract allows employees to retain their seniority if they voluntarily transfer to another location. It also increases employer contributions to health plans.

A school district news release said that by moving the cost-of-living increases to January, the district "is able to keep the budget impact to 1 percent of the budget set aside for negotiations for both fiscal years."

"This represents months of hard work within a tight budget," said Jim Vollmer, assistant director of employee and labor relations. "Our students and families rely on our schools to provide meals each day, so it was of the utmost importance to come together on a thoughtful agreement."