Montana Public Radio

Al Ekblad


A group of winter tour guides in West Yellowstone say they were laid off after trying to unionize this winter. They’ve filed unfair labor practice charges against one of Yellowstone National Park’s leading concessionaires, which will be heard later this year. The case signals a rare but possibly growing interest among seasonal workers to organize.

Potter's Field Ministries operated Mudman Burgers in Columbia Falls, MT before closing down after allegations of abuse made in June 2019.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

It’s been a little over three months since Whitefish-based Potter’s Field Ministries and its affiliated burger chain closed down amid allegations of psychological and emotional abuse.

For the first time, workers are providing detailed documents outlining how they also worked 240-plus hours per month for as little as $300. The state labor department is now investigating.

File photo of Forest Service helicopter crews practicing medical evacuation west of Missoula, MT. The government shutdown has put a halt to much of the Forest Service's wildfire training.
Lane Lamoreaux (PD)

Union representatives of Montana’s 7,000 federal workers impacted by the federal government shutdown say they’re pleased President Donald Trump has agreed to put them back to work for three weeks and authorize back pay. But they say questions still abound and damage has already been done.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare says the Montana Nurses Association released “blatantly false information” when it announced Wednesday it was filing charges against Kalispell Regional for allegedly violating federal worker rights laws.

Keystone Pipeline pumping station in Nebraska.
Flickr user shannonpatrick17 http://bit.ly/2H4u5Kk (CC-BY-2) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s springtime in Montana and that’s keeping Glendive-area farmer Dena Hoff plenty busy these days:

"Oh yes, we’re lambing. It’s been crazy," Hoff says.

Hoff, an irrigated farmer on the Yellowstone River, is also keeping tabs on the Trump administration's activities in Washington D.C. Hoff is particularly disappointed by the President’s decision last week to approve a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline:

Backers of a ballot initiative that they say is all about brain research argue that it would fund critically needed scientific inquiry into conditions like Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

But opponents say it’s about much more than that, and that approving I-181 would give voters unprecedented power over state spending in a way that would be unwise, and even illegal.

Eric Whitney

On Thursday, Montana’s Board of Regents will review a plan by Montana State University to re-name its computer science department the Gianforte School of Computing. The action would honor Greg and Susan Gianforte, whose family foundation pledged $8 million to MSU. Greg Gianforte is also running for governor as a Republican.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte unveiled his tax plan Monday afternoon at a lumber yard in Clancy. Standing in front of chest-high piles of timber and two large loaders, the Bozeman entrepreneur promised to get rid of Montana’s business equipment tax, lower income taxes for everyone, and not increase state spending.

(PD)

Tuesday’s Supreme Court vote to temporarily block the Obama Administration's climate change regulations is receiving praise and criticism in Montana.

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

The future of Montana's Colstrip power plant is very much in the news lately. The Clean Power Plan rules announced by the Obama administration in August called for Montana to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants more than any other state. And the utilities in West Coast states that own most of Colstrip face growing political pressure to stop buying coal-fired electricity from Montana. That makes for an uncertain future for the nearly 800 members of the Montana AFI-CIO unions who work in the Colstrip area.

Pages