Missouri Minute: BJC to raise minimum wage to $15; Cardinals lead MLB in local TV ratings

Good morning, MBA readers,

If there’s one figure to focus on this Friday, it’s 15 — as in, $15 per hour. That will become the new minimum wage for one of the state’s largest health care systems as BJC HealthCare looks to improve employee retention. That figure — 15 — is also at the center of an ongoing fight in the fast-food industry. Activists seeking a $15 minimum wage, among other changes for fast-food workers, turned out this week to protest at St. Louis City Hall. And speaking of St. Louis turnouts, Cardinals fans tuned in for their team’s TV broadcasts at a higher rate than any other fans in baseball. Before you tune out for the weekend, read up on those stories and the rest of the state’s top business news.

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Emerson to conduct ‘extensive review’
The Ferguson-based maker of automation equipment and other technology will undergo an extensive financial review in anticipation of a challenging geopolitical and economic landscape over the next couple of years, Emerson Chairman and CEO David Farr said. A timeline for the review hasn’t been announced. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Coal giant in debt talks after missed payments
Murray Energy, which holds a controlling interest in St. Louis-based Foresight Energy, said Wednesday that it’s entered into lender forbearance agreements after missing payments. The coal company has until the middle of the month to continue conversations with lenders. (Associated Press)

St. Louis Cardinals lead baseball in local TV ratings
Cardinals games that aired on Fox Sports Midwest this season averaged a 6.6 rating, meaning they were viewed by an average of 77,000 St. Louis-area households. That ranked first in Major League Baseball, but it was down 10% from the 2018 season. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Schnucks to stop selling tobacco products next year
The 115-store supermarket chain based in the St. Louis area will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products on Jan.1. CEO Todd Schnuck called the move the “right thing to do.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Company cited, fined for fire death at southeast Missouri plant
Kerry Inc. was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for not providing fall protection to workers. The citation stems from an employee fatally falling while attempting to put out a fire in the company’s Greenville plant. (MBA)

Sunset Transportation opens new office on the Mexico border
St. Louis county-headquartered Sunset Transportation, a third-party logistics firm, will open its seventh branch, composed of a new office and warehouse near the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Louis aldermen advance $8 million TIF for McKee-affiliated project
Up to $8 million in subsidies could be granted to a planned health care facility associated with developer Paul McKee after a St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee vote pushing the controversial bill forward. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Children’s Mercy researchers to form team to study childhood obesity
After receiving a five-year, $3.7 million federal grant, scientists from Washington University in St. Louis will team up with researchers from Children’s Mercy in Kansas City for a project focused on behavioral weight-loss, especially for children from low-income families. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Book by St. Louis authors may bring Busch family legacy to television
Plans are in motion to create a TV series based on a book written by former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters about the Busches, the St. Louis family behind the Anheuser-Busch beer empire. (Deadline)

Go figure

That’s roughly how much BJC HealthCare, one of the largest employers in the St. Louis area, will increase its minimum wage, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The nonprofit health care organization announced plans Wednesday to increase its pay floor to $15 an hour over the course of two years. About 3,500 BJC employees will receive an initial increase in minimum wage to $12.65 an hour on Oct. 27. The rate will then increase to $14 in fall 2020 and $15 by fall 2021. The company’s CEO said the move is intended to attract and retain more talent.

Say that again

“This new health center is a testament to the needs of the greater bi-state region and our commitment to provide, protect and expand access to health care, no matter what.”

That’s Dr. Colleen McNicholas, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. On Wednesday the national health care organization announced a new 18,000-square-foot “megaclinic” in Fairview Heights, Illinois, just 15 miles from St. Louis, NBC News reports. The new clinic will be equipped to provide services to 11,000 patients and will take the place of an older clinic, which cared for around 5,000 patients. The new clinic follows months of legal battles in Missouri, which has left Planned Parenthood’s last abortion clinic in the state on the verge of shutting its doors. A judge has recently allowed that clinic to remain open until the issue is resolved in court later this month.

Send tweet

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is under fire after this tweet, in which she praised job openings and school aid programs at McDonald’s, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The tweet, now over a week old, drew about 50 protesters to the steps of City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. The rally was part of an ongoing union-backed effort to get McDonald’s and other fast-food chains to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. Speakers at the rally included a McDonald’s employee who said she doesn’t earn a living wage, as well as local Democratic lawmakers.

Hello, my name is

This St. Louis startup has raised $6.9 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round led by St. Louis-based Cultivation Capital and an angel investor group of medical professionals, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Geneoscopy, which develops diagnostic tools for gastrointestinal health, plans to use the funds to accelerate hiring and research. The newest round brings Geneoscopy’s total funding to $8.2 million.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning. Have a fabulous weekend.


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