Planned Parenthood Workers, Including In Iowa, Unionize

More than 400 health care workers at Planned Parenthood locations across five Upper Midwest states including Iowa are now covered by a union.

Across 28 Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, 429 workerswith 90% of them voting in favorwon the right to form a union last week.

The news was announced by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa, which will represent the employees during collective bargaining with Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS).

PPNCS voluntarily recognized the union.

Planned Parenthood clinics provide abortion care, cancer screenings, birth control, family planning, sexual and reproductive health education, political and community organizing.

April Clark, an Iowa Planned Parenthood senior training and development specialist who works in Iowa, talked about how proud the group is and the next steps in their work:

“Unionization will make PPNCS stronger,” she said. “It will, most importantly, allow us to give the best quality, compassionate care to our patients by ensuring that we have adequate staffing ratios and a voice at the table when decisions are being made that affect our patients and our work.”

“We’ve been working on unionization for a long time, but the work is just beginning,” she added. “Now, we begin the process of bargaining for a contract—for a seat at the table for front line workers, for fair wages, better benefits, and for ensuring that we continue the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

The unionization effort comes as Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, grapples with states across the country banning abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month.

Iowa still allows abortion, although Gov. Kim Reynolds hopes to revive the state’s six-week abortion ban that was deemed unconstitutional before Roe was overturned, according to Iowa Capital Dispatch. The state has also instituted a new restriction requiring patients to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

“It’s really overwhelming,” Clark told the Capital Dispatch. “We’re basically seeing each patient twice. So it’s limiting some of our capacity.”

 

By Amie Rivers
7/26/22

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