Health workers at Planned Parenthood clinics moving to unionize

Health workers employed by Planned Parenthood clinics across Wisconsin are moving to unionize, according to labor organizers. 

The Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals this week announced the plan, calling it a “critical step” toward strengthening Planned Parenthood and organized labor in the face of “political attacks” on both. 

Jamie Lucas, the federation’s executive director, said the health workers will soon vote in a union election with a hearing scheduled for next week to determine the specifics of that process. 

“We anticipate well over 100 clinicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, health care assistants, patient navigators, and others across the state from all Planned Parenthood Clinics,” Lucas said in an email. “But the final number will be decided in the coming week as part of the process for elections under the National Labor Relations Board.” 

He noted Planned Parenthood was asked to recognize the union based on majority support, but the nonprofit organization has chosen to file for an election. 

In a statement on the announcement, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin emphasized its commitment to “providing compassionate, non-judgmental care” and education. 

“We work tirelessly to protect and advance the rights of the communities we serve to have access to the full scope of sexual and reproductive health, and to have the agency to make their own decisions,” the group said in an email. “This value is no different when it comes to employees and their right to organize a union in their workplace. “ 

A majority of the health care workers employed by the organization have signed onto a petition stating they plan to organize “with the sincere intent to support the long-term viability of PPWI” and its mission, according to Lucas. 

“Every step of this process has been guided by the healthcare workers, which is what having a union is all about: creating an organization of and for the workers, built on their experiences, expertise, and compassion to better serve their patients and care for themselves,” he told, adding the union believes the move will improve the quality of care the workers deliver. 

The Wisconsin FNHP is the local affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers health care division, which represents more than 130,000 health professionals across various industries. 

See the federation’s release: 

–By Alex Moe