We, the undersigned, are Missoula Independent alumni and freelancers. We support the organizing efforts of the Missoula Independent Union, and look forward to a future in which the union and Lee Enterprises work together to keep the Indy local, and essential to this state and city.
Sarah Aswell, Jule Banville, Dan Brooks, Skylar Browning, Jason Cohen, Nancy de Pastino, Chad Dundas, Micah Fields, Matt Frank, Jesse Froehling, Molly Laich, Ari LeVaux, Jason McMackin, Tim Midyett, Hunter Pauli, Jamie Rogers, Jessie Schandelson (McQuillan), Michael Siebert, Ednor Therriault, Jimmy Tobias, Josh Vanek, Jason Wiener
Child of a union
I am a member of MEA-MFT, Montana’s largest labor union, and I am writing to support the efforts of the employees of the Missoula Independent to form a union. I believe working people everywhere should have the unfettered right and opportunity to organize into unions and bargain collectively with their employers. I urge Lee Enterprises to step back from anti-union interference and let the employees decide entirely for themselves if they want to be union or not.
In addition to being a union member myself, I was raised by parents who were union members, and they instilled in me the sense of fairness and dignity unions provide to employees. They were also able to support four children and educate all of us through college, some of us with graduate degrees, by bargaining in good faith for wages and benefits that made this possible.
I support wholeheartedly the organization of a professional union to represent the interests of the journalists and all who work to bring the news to residents of Missoula and Montana citizens such as myself here in Great Falls in Cascade County. Missoula newspapers lead the way to the free flow of information and unrestricted exchange of ideas.
Partnerships among many U.S. companies, their employees and unions have resulted in key business improvements. Numerous studies have concluded that these types of shared capitalism are associated with more positive employee attitudes, higher levels of productivity and better financial performance. The impact is amplified if these financial ties are combined with employee involvement, employment security and practices that invest in employees, such as training.
Research on labor-management partnerships indicates that providing employees, through their union representatives, a bigger voice in the organization and workplace results in less conflict, improved organizational performance and cost savings.
Journalists and their unions are heavily invested in the success and survival of their company, and a strong partnership creates the trust and cooperation needed to help financially troubled companies survive.
It should help set the tone for labor-management relations, providing workers with job security, preventing further wage and benefit concessions and promoting the kind of investment in training and talent that will help them compete in the digital world.
Furthermore, unions may use their ownership position to present perspectives on business and economic affairs that better reflect the interests of the working class. This could potentially broaden the appeal of the newspaper and have broader societal benefits by offering more diverse perspectives.
In short, the stage is set for the union investors to show what they can do. They possess advantages which should be methodically exploited. A stronger union voice arguably promotes both industrial and political democracy.
I support the efforts of your newspaper’s employees to use their legal right to organize. I’m very concerned about reports of threats and coercion against these people by your management. As a member of a Montana labor union, I and my fellow members are watching these developments very carefully.
The City Council may give lip service to housing costs in Missoula, but the reality is that they could clearly care less (“Faces of Skyview: With evictions imminent, trailer court residents look for a way out,” March 22). $3,200 for a sewer connection to a 400-square-foot home (little homes on Speedway in East Missoula). Look at the reality: Everything that the city can do to increase housing costs is being done! If, and that is a very big if, the city really cared about housing costs, permits’ cost could be cut 90 percent or more. Requirements for other expenses could be simply eliminated. Requiring resurveying before permits are issued is just a way to push up cost. Permits for construction are not based on the cost to the city for needed inspection, but rather on square feet. Really, how much more time does it take to look at a 100-square-foot bathroom than a 300-square-foot bathroom? Does it have the required fixtures or not? Safety is really the only question that the city inspectors should be concerned with. Is a regulation needed for the safety of the people or not? Eliminating excessive regulations would go a long way toward reducing housing costs in Missoula County.