Owner of Missouri Gas Energy considers job cuts

03/11/2014 6:06 PM

03/11/2014 10:47 PM

The new owner of Missouri Gas Energy is integrating some of the utility’s operations with its St. Louis utility, and some Kansas City jobs are on the line.

The Laclede Group, which owns the Laclede Gas utility in St. Louis, purchased Missouri Gas Energy last year and indicated then that it planned to combine some operations of the two companies.

One part of the integration under serious consideration is relocating the Kansas City utility’s call center to St. Louis, which was first disclosed on the website keepkcjobs.org.

Jenny Gobble, a spokeswoman for Laclede, said Tuesday in an email response that “this is something that could be discussed in labor negotiations and it’s not appropriate to publicly discuss any specifics related to negotiations right now.”

Gobble added that the company is “committed to working with union leaders to explore all options as we work to integrate MGE and Laclede Gas.”

Laclede Group recently filed a notice with state officials that 83 Missouri Gas Energy employees could lose their jobs April 30. Those employees work in customer service in the Kansas City call center.

The members facing possible layoffs are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 53, which has been negotiating with Laclede for a new contract. The current contract is set to expire April 30. The IBEW did not comment.

Gobble said the utility expects to add jobs when it increases the program to replace pipeline in Missouri Gas Energy’s territory.

Missouri Gas Energy’s territory stretches through western Missouri. The company has 665 employees — 485 union and 180 nonunion.

The remaining employees in Kansas City will have different offices late next year. Gobble said the MGE headquarters building at 3420 Broadway in Kansas City has been too big for some time and the company will leave when the lease is up in November 2015.

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