Over 400 frontline workers at Planned Parenthood North Central States’ 28 facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska will vote to form a union with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa. Workers in roughly 100 different roles, from admin and marketing staff to pharmacists and registered nurses, came together, collected signatures of support from a majority of frontline staffers, and petitioned for a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election.
The recent Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade added relevance to the protections workers have with their union.
“Our right to provide this care is constantly under attack, and we can’t afford to lose dedicated, mission-driven abortion care providers to burnout and exhaustion,” said Sadie Brewer, a registered nurse at the clinic on Vandalia Street in St. Paul. “Now more than ever, we need as much protection and security as possible, and a union is going to give us that.”
Planned Parenthood employees join workers at other non-profit organizations demanding more control over decisions that affect their day-to-day work in support of the organization’s mission. Many Planned Parenthood employees are overworked, underpaid, and undervalued, resulting in high turnover rates.
“I am often training the same position in the same clinics over and over again, and this has been an ongoing trend for the last several years,” said April Clark, a registered nurse from Iowa with ten years of experience with Planned Parenthood. “Caretakers often cannot voice issues on the job in a way that leads to meaningful change. We trudge on until we burn out, and then we leave.”
While wages and working conditions are central to the decision to unionize, their union will provide Planned Parenthood employees with the voice they are demanding.
“Unfortunately, I’ve seen many of these people move on after their ideas and concerns went unheard by the executive team far too long,” Brewer added. “The executive team is constantly making decisions that affect us with little to no input from the people doing the work.”
The NLRB will tally the votes on July 21.