MISSOULA – Non-management staffers for Missoula’s alternative weekly newspaper, the Missoula Independent, voted in favor of forming a union on Friday morning.
The Missoula News Guild said Friday that they are now looking forward to talks with management in order to reach a collective bargaining agreement with Lee Enterprises, which owns the Missoulian newspaper and purchased the Missoula Independent last spring.
MNG had previously said that in January, Independent staff were informed by Lee that their operations would be relocated from their original offices on South Orange Street and into the Missoulian offices on South Higgins. Additionally, Independent staff say they were told that the move would follow a round of buyouts, layoffs and print frequency reductions that cut into other Lee-owned publications around the state.
MNG said that Indy staff raised concerns about maintaining the weekly paper’s independence in the eyes of its readership and advertisers.
Independent staffers began the formal process of filing to form a union with the National Labor Relations Board in mid-March.
"The unanimity of the vote is proof of how strongly the paper’s staff feels about securing a viable future for the Independent in Missoula," MNG said Friday.