More than 3,000 Philadelphia school aides, bus drivers, building engineers, cleaners, and maintenance workers have a new contract.

The four-year pact between the Philadelphia School District and 32BJ Service Employees International Union District 1201 gives workers an 8 percent wage increase, employer-paid health care, and training.

"We work hard to help keep Philadelphia's students safe and focused on learning," Karl Johnson, a building engineer at Edison High School and union executive board member, said in a statement Tuesday. "With our new contract, we can provide a better experience for the students in the schools and improve the quality of life for our members and their families."

The hourly rate for the union's lowest paid workers will eventually rise from $12.15 per hour to $13.12 per hour. The most-skilled workers - a handful of building engineers - will eventually have pay rise from $31.44 to $33.95 per hour.

"This new contract benefits both workers and students," George Ricchezza, leader of the local chapter, said in the statement. "Workers were able to protect their health-care coverage and gain significant raises in a tough economy. The increased training opportunities will help make Philly's schools cleaner, safer, and more efficient."

A union spokeswoman said employees still would not have to contribute to their health care, but district spokesman Fernando Gallard said the contract contained savings under the new health-care plan.

"This is a great contract for the schools, for the children of Philadelphia, and also for our workforce," Gallard said. "It will provide us with flexibility, more training for the employees, and performance-based standards and incentives."

Gallard said the performance standards would be developed with the union. It was unclear last night if failure to meet such a standard could lead to the employee being fired.