The newsroom has recently voted to organize a union and affiliate with the Communications Workers of America.

Schmelzer was management and was not in the organizing effort, according to the news release. "The News Guild condemns this appalling and short-sighted move in the strongest possible terms," said the release. "Publisher Dale Bohren told members of the News Guild that the decision was 'financial.' That statement does not appear to be credible." It appears the dismissal "was in fact punitive retaliation for exercising our federally protected right to form a union," the release said. The release mentioned the April 6 vote on unionization at the Lee-owned weekly the Missoula Independent.

Bohren did not immediately return a request for comment, K2 Radio reported.

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