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Working People Are Working More and Taking Fewer Vacation Days
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, September 1, 2017 - A new Labor Day report unveiled by the AFL-CIO shows that working people are working more and taking fewer vacation days.

The report is based on findings from a national survey conducted for the AFL-CIO by the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, and was produced in collaboration with the Economic Policy Institute and the Labor Project for Working Families.

While 78% of workers say they have the day off on Labor Day, more than a quarter of those people expect to do some work, and more than half of those working will not receive overtime benefits. More than half of Americans surveyed said they were working more holidays and weekends than ever, and 43% said they brought work home at least one night a week.

Union members are more likely to receive Labor Day off and overtime pay compared with their nonunion counterparts. Sixty-six percent of union members receive overtime pay on Labor Day, compared with 38% of nonunion members. Women, often the primary caregivers in their families, are less likely than men to report access to paid time off-68% vs. 74%.

The majority of American workers credit labor unions for many of the benefits they receive.

"Union workers empowered by the freedom to negotiate with employers do better on every single economic benchmark," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "Union workers earn substantially more money, union contracts help achieve equal pay and protection from discrimination, union workplaces are safer, and union workers have better access to health care and a pension."

Additionally, 72% of those surveyed said they thought unions were either very or somewhat responsible for working people having paid time off on Labor Day and other holidays.

Fifty-four percent of workers would join a union tomorrow if given the option. This includes 41% of Republicans surveyed. Respondents also expressed major concern that weakening unions could hurt workers' benefits in the future.

Americans overwhelmingly report wanting to spend their Labor Day off with their families and friends.

Tower Grove Master Plan
Tower Grove hosted a public open house, August 30, at the Piper Palm House, to present the Park's new master plan to the public.

Tower Grove Park Is a Victorian Work of Art for the Twenty-first Century Soul
by Betty Moore,
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 31, 2017 - Tower Grove hosted a public open house, August 30, on at the Piper Palm House, to present the Park's new master plan to the public. The plan is expected to guide the next 20 years of development at the Park.

In a press briefing, Wednesday morning, Tower Grove Executive Director Bill Reininger and Faye Harwell, principal of Rhodeside & Harwell, highlighted some of the findings from surveys and studies.

Harwell noted that the response to the surveys and public open houses surpassed their expectation. She added that more than 250 people attended the initial public open house on January 18 and left hundreds of notes, comments, and suggestions. A subsequent online survey was completed by 1,280 unique individuals.

History, community, sustainability, recreation and legacy guided their design for the future of the park. It is the collection in the park, the fabulous tree species, the bridges and objects that are part of park's Victorian spirit that make this park so special, in addition to the collection of sculptures and buildings.

"If you google Victorian pavilions, Tower Grove Park is the first place that comes up," stated Harwell, with a smile. "So this collection of that time period is more than any other in the world."

Shaw's plan, developed in 1876, with beautiful illustrations by Compton and Dry, and the community aspect factored heavily into the design for the future. "We learned that people are passionate about the park and gave us very good feedback," said Harwell.

Harwell emphasized that "The big message is that Tower Grove Park is a Victorian work of art for the twenty-first century soul."

The master plan, which includes expanded fields for soccer, kickball and basketball, additional area for the Farmer's Market, additional public restrooms, and better accessibility for the grounds around the Piper Palm House, will be finalized in September, and this is the final opportunity for public input.

"We are very gratified by the passionate engagement of Park supporters," said executive director Bill Reininger. "As we approach the Park's 150th anniversary in 2022, we welcome public input to ensure the Park's vibrancy for the next century and a half."

The public is invited to participate in the final commentary in the following ways:

  • Attend the open house Wednesday, August 30, at 6 p.m. and complete a comment card.
  • E-mail comments to through Thursday, September 7.
The new master plan aims to:
  • Continue and strengthen Tower Grove Park's unique role as a place for all communities, both today and in the future.
  • Preserve the Park's historic features, landscape, and character.
  • Upgrade the Park's amenities, connectivity, and security.
Funding for the Master Plan was provided through grants from the William T. Kemper Foundation, Commerce Bank Trustee, and by the Crawford Taylor Foundation.

Iceland's WOW Air Expands Service to St. Louis in 2018
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 24, 2017 - WOW Air, Iceland's low-cost transatlantic airline, continues its North American growth by offering new flight services from Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) to Europe via Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Iceland.

The addition of these four cities will increase the number of WOW air destinations in the Midwest to five on the purple airline that flies with Airbus A320, Airbus A321 and Airbus A330 models.

Earlier this year, WOW air began service to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD). These four additions will bring the airline's total number of U.S. destinations to 12 since its successful North American launch at Boston Logan International Airport in March 2015.

Flights from DTW, CLE, CVG and STL to Iceland will commence in 2018. The inaugural flights are as follows:

Detroit on April 26; Cleveland on May 4; Cincinnati will be May 10; St. Louis on May 17

"WOW air is very excited to bring our flight services to four new Midwest destinations," said Skúli Mogensen, CEO and Founder of WOW air. "We are proud of our growth over the last two years and will continue to work tirelessly to provide the lowest fares possible to each region of the U.S. Helping to make international travel truly a possibility for everyone."

WOW air's expansion across the Midwest will provide millions of Americans with affordable access to major European cities including: Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris and London.

Downtown Heat And Power Plant
Originally built in 1904 by the predecessor to Ameren Missouri Electric, the Ashley plant was originally configured as a coal-fired power plant.
Ashley Energy Acquires Downtown Heat And Power Plant For District Energy System
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 24, 2017 - Ashley Energy LLC has acquired the historic Ashley heat and power plant located in downtown St. Louis from Trigen-St. Louis Energy Corporation, a subsidiary of Veolia North America.

At the same time, Ashley has entered into a new 20-year agreement with the City of St. Louis' Solid Waste Management and Development Corporation ("SWMDC") to operate the St. Louis district energy system and supply reliable green energy to nearly 70 buildings, hotels, sports venues and businesses in the downtown business district. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Originally built in 1904 by the predecessor to Ameren Missouri Electric, the Ashley plant was originally configured as a coal-fired power plant. It was later converted to an oil-fired plant, and subsequently overhauled and developed as a natural gas-fired co-generation facility that simultaneously generates both steam heat and electricity. The electricity is sold into the wholesale power grid, and the steam is distributed to buildings through 17+ miles of piping that runs underneath the downtown St. Louis central business district.

"The St. Louis district energy system has reliably heated many of the city's landmark buildings and businesses for over a century," said Mason Miller, President of Ashley Energy. "Hand in hand, in close partnership with the City of St. Louis, Ashley Energy will build upon the more than $20 million in energy infrastructure and modernized equipment invested in the Ashley plant over the past two decades to support the future growth and development of the City of St. Louis and deliver clean, reliable and cost-effective renewable energy to businesses across the city."

Richard Bradley, President of the Board of Public Service, added, "We are excited by this important acquisition and look forward to working with Ashley Energy as our partner in the operation of the district energy system."

Express Scripts Named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, August 24, 2017 - Express Scripts has been recognized as a top-scoring company on the Disability Equality Index (DEI) for having inclusive workplace, social and governance policies. The DEI is a national benchmarking tool and joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the US Business Leadership Network®.

"Express Scripts is proud of earning a 100 percent score on the Disability Equality Index and being named one of the country's Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion," said Tim Wentworth, CEO and President of Express Scripts. "We are committed to being an inclusive, accessible and supportive community for our 26,000 employees and the people we serve."

Among the areas recognized through the DEI are disability inclusive recruitment and supplier policies; as well as employee programs including Express PossAbilities, an employee resource group that serves as an advocate and resource for disability awareness, education and community outreach.

"Embracing people of all backgrounds and abilities is central to the inclusive culture we're building at Express Scripts," said Susan Stith, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Giving. "When we bring all voices and experiences to the table, we reflect and better understand the diversity of those we serve."

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