Good morning, MBA readers,
Protracted labor negotiations continue to play out across the aviation industry, and the leading carrier at Missouri's two largest airports is the latest airline making headlines. The pilot union for Southwest Airlines announced it plans to hold a strike authorization vote later this year. The move comes after close to three years of contract talks between Southwest and its pilots, and it follows the cancellation of over 16,000 flights by the carrier during the holiday season. In Springfield, Missouri State University is ready to deploy $75 million in funding it received as part of the federal budget approved late last month. MSU President Clif Smart said the university "got everything we asked for." Plus, more than 40 workers at St. Louis Public Radio will hold a unionization vote, meaning the St. Louis station joins a growing number of media organizations across the state to experience union pushes in the last few years. Kick off your week with those stories and the rest of the day's business news.
St. Louis attorneys may seek class action status for earnings tax refunds
A judge Thursday ordered that six employees of St. Louis-based companies who lived outside the city in 2020 have their 1% earnings tax refunded. Attorneys say they are exploring a class action suit covering "tens of thousands" of other workers. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Southwest pilots to vote on strike authorization
After trouble during the holidays led Southwest Airlines to cancel more than 16,000 flights, the airline's pilot union has announced it will conduct a strike authorization vote in May. The move follows close to three years of negotiations. (Reuters)
Missouri State gets $75 million in federal funding
The funds, which are part of the federal budget approved in late December, will help the Springfield school renovate all its science and computer science facilities. (Springfield News-Leader)
St. Louis Public Radio workers to hold unionization vote
The radio workers will decide whether to join a union after the University of Missouri System refused to recognize them. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Energizer to shut down two plants, union says
Labor leaders claim the Town and Country-based battery brand plans to close two Wisconsin facilities that employ about 600 people. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Private equity firm invests in 4M Building Solutions
The St. Louis-based janitorial company raised "a significant growth investment" from Michigan-based O2 Investment Partners. Terms were not disclosed. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Say that again
“I feel pretty positive that ... if we sustained our community during like the darkest of days, it can only go up from there, and it has.”
That's Julie Bokat, owner of Fuel Training Studio, discussing how gyms are on the comeback after the dip in attendance during the pandemic. Operating in an industry that did not receive targeted federal aid during the pandemic, gyms have faced a unique situation when it comes to retaining business, the Associated Press reports. But gym operators like Bokat are reporting an uptick in visitors and optimism about the future.
Missouri’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly in December, to 2.8% from 2.7% the month before, but it remained lower than the national average of 3.5%, according to the latest state-level unemployment data. Non-farm payroll employment decreased by 5,000 jobs from November to December. However, Missouri added a total of 47,600 jobs from December 2021 to December 2022, with the most growth in professional and business services, education and health services, and manufacturing.
Hello, my name is
That's the name of the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District's micro-grant program to fund safety improvements and beautification of the downtown district. Awards range from $500 to $5,000, and up to $25,000 will be awarded in the current fiscal year, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Applications are due Jan. 31.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.