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Bozeman Chronicle newsroom staff move to unionize

The newly formed Yellowstone News Guild representing the news staff of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle has filed for a union vote with the National Labor Relations Board.

The move comes after the Guild’s request that the Chronicle’s parent company, Adams Publishing Group, voluntarily recognize the union was denied.

“The union will await a date for a secret ballot election set by the NLRB,” the Guild said in a statement Wednesday. “We are hopeful Adams will not partake in union-busting and act in good faith with members of the Yellowstone News Guild.”

All 9 of the Bozeman Chronicle’s reporters and photographers are seeking to unionize, citing an ongoing furlough and overall rising living costs in the area.

Crime and Courts Reporter Melissa Loveridge says during the pandemic reporters hours were reduced and have not yet been restored to 40 hours. She says the effort to unionize is in part to ask for more transparency. Pay is another factor, she says, as wages not keeping pace with the rising cost of living has made a long-term reporting career in Bozeman difficult.

“Those aren’t really possible with what is going on in Bozeman right now especially with the housing market,” she said. “It’s not possible … for young reporters to stay in Bozeman for long stretches of time, and we would really like to see that change.”

The editor of the Adams-owned Klamath Falls Herald in southwest Oregon also cited rising cost of living and low pay as a reason why the paper’s entire four-person newsroom departed around the same time earlier this year.

The Chronicle is the second newsroom in Montana to unionize, following the Billings Gazette’s Montana News Guild. It is also the second newspaper union in the Mountain West within Adams Publishing Group.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.