When a business is having trouble staying economically viable and has to lay off employees, their desperate attempt to unionize is usually the death-knell of the organization. While unionizing to gain collective bargaining power over an employer may seem like a wise move to those unlearned in economics, it typically means that their jobs will be in greater jeopardy and their salaries even harder to pay.
The simple truth of the matter is that the Billings Gazette, like Montana’s other failing newspapers, aren’t selfishly deciding to fire their writers and staff for the financial bottom-line. They’re having to cut payroll or else face going out of business. But few seem so pathetically entitled as ‘journalists’ who could easily be replaced by cost-efficient outsourcing in an online media age.
According to the latest reports, most of the staff at the Billings Gazette has asked Lee Enterprises – a dying company that is about to be kicked out of the New York Stock Exchange for hemorrhaging so much money – to “voluntarily” accept their union status with the Montana News Guild. The move would allow them to bargain for their jobs and salaries collectively, which they believe would stave off their inevitable firing or reduction in pay. It’s far more likely the paper just goes out of business, leaving them all without jobs.
If Lee Enterprises doesn’t “voluntarily” accept their status as a union, they have submitted a request to the National Labor Relations Board as a back-up plan.
Ostensibly, the Billings Gazette employees were upset over the lay-offs of the editor and writers for the editorial page and also upset at a mandatory two-week furlough in response to Coronavirus economic-downturn.
Meanwhile, it’s important that Montana’s news consumers find new and alternative media that will continue to report local and state news without the liberal bias that is slowly strangling Montana’s news monopoly.