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Laclede Gas Workers Ratify Contract

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Two unions have ratified a new, four-year contract with Laclede Gas Company.

Members of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Locals 5-6 and 5-194 have been working without a contract for two weeks. They had turned down a proposal from the company on August 1st.

But Sunday, the unions' membership approved a new offer. Union business manager Kevin Patterson would not divulge details of the contract. "I can tell you that the contract was ratified and we're gonna meet the company [Monday], and we'll sign the contract. It's a four year contract."

Patterson said the contract's margin of approval was still being determined Sunday night. Laclede officials say workers were asked to help pay their health insurance premiums for the first time.

"The rising cost of healthcare has really affected companies all over the country," said company spokesman George Csolak. "And that is something that when we went into the negotiations we said that this had to change. You know, our management personnel at Laclede have been paying contributions ever since 2002."

Csolak says there are wage increases included in each year of the contract.

The pact will cover about 1,300 Laclede workers.