Staff members at Planned Parenthood’s nationwide Washington, D.C., workplace say they’ve unionized and reached an settlement with administration to enhance staff’ rights. The transfer towards collective bargaining comes as Planned Parenthood and different abortion-rights groups have been scrutinized for office issues, together with an absence of diversity inside administration.
Union management instructed CBS News solely that Planned Parenthood’s roughly 70 union-eligible D.C. staffers unanimously voted to affix SEIU Local 500, an area department of the second-largest union within the U.S. Under the settlement, Planned Parenthood administration will “address equity in the workplace, codify benefits, and provide members a voice in organizational decision making.”
The settlement between Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its D.C. staffers comes after almost 4 years of negotiations that started below the group’s former president Cecile Richards, union leaders instructed CBS News. After saying their intention to unionize in September 2016, negotiations stalled following President Trump’s election when Planned Parenthood discovered itself taking part in protection in opposition to an unprecedented wave of abortion restrictions.
The group’s D.C. workplace unionized to “ensure Planned Parenthood’s long-term security and build collective power for the workers who make it possible for the organization to successfully carry out its mission,” stated Aaron Wilder, a member of the bargaining unit management group and regional marketing campaign supervisor at Planned Parenthood.
“We are the doers: the employees who come to the job every day to tirelessly fight for Planned Parenthood patients and reproductive rights,” Wilder stated in an electronic mail to CBS News.
“The PPFA national office fully believes in the rights of staff to organize and unionize, and supports the DC and Miami unions,” stated Melanie Newman, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson, in an electronic mail to CBS News.
The group’s transfer in the direction of unionization comes after accusations of poor working environments and unfair remedy of Black staffers at a number of the nation’s most distinguished reproductive well being organizations, together with Planned Parenthood. NARAL, an abortion-rights group, was accused final month of failing to incorporate sufficient individuals of coloration in senior-level administration positions, together with its board. At Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, the group’s largest affiliate, allegations of abusive conduct and racial discrimination resulted within the ouster of its chief govt officer.
“The things that have been highlighted at some of our affiliates, well, the national office isn’t immune,” stated a Planned Parenthood worker and member of its union management who requested to not be named. “White supremacy rears its ugly head everywhere we go, even in progressive and nonprofit spaces.”
The worker stated the “union provides that layer of protections for people to be able to speak out and to address these issues.”
The chief executives at each Planned Parenthood and NARAL have apologized for an absence of diversity inside their senior ranks and promised to make adjustments to address the problem.
“We have real work ahead of us to ensure staff feel safe and valued, particularly our staff of color who are asked to represent and advocate for the mission, while often quietly shouldering the accountability work inside,” stated Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s president, in a tweet final month, addressing these accusations. “They do that work quietly because speaking up often comes at a personal cost. Too many people of color, particularly Black women, face unfair backlash for speaking truth to power.”
Planned Parenthood’s D.C. staffers are the group’s second federal workplace to achieve a collective bargaining settlement; the group’s federal Miami bureau unionized in 2018. A handful of Planned Parenthood’s roughly 50 associates have additionally unionized.