Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Blocks Workers’ Right to Choose
PPRM has Silenced Workers by Appealing to Trump Controlled National Labor Relations Board
Denver, CO – Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) health care workers are raising their voices in solidarity today and asking the organization to stop blocking their attempts to organize. Health center workers came together in 2016 and approached Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 105 for assistance in organizing to improve their working conditions and maintain high level patient care.
After months of grassroots organizing, they requested a meeting with leadership to discuss their concerns. After being denied a request for a meeting, workers were referred to the process laid out by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). With the help of SEIU over the next four months, workers petitioned the NLRB for a bargaining unit comprised of clinics in Colorado and won. Despite PPRM’s efforts, including mandatory employee meetings and the distribution of anti-union mail pieces, workers won the election to form their union in December of last year.
Faced with a newly organized workforce, PPRM announced they were requesting a review of the NLRB decision. PPRM determined that all the health centers in the agency should be unionized together, and this was the focus of their request for review. In April, the NLRB granted PPRM a review. The decision to review was supported by two members of the labor board appointed by President Trump, while former President Obama’s appointee voted against PPRM’s appeal and in favor of the workers. PPRM halted negotiations with the union the day before the bargaining team was going to submit their final proposals. The appeal will now move to the full NLRB. The outcome of this case could have ramifications for workers’ rights across the country.
“We are disappointed by the actions of an organization that claims to support choice and progressive causes” said PPRM Health Center worker Amanda Martin. “If PPRM wants to lift the voices of all its employees, it needs to prove it by stopping its effort to silence those who have decided to speak up and organize. Now that these Colorado clinics have organized locally, there is a clear path for other workers in our organization to come together in a way they best see fit and we will support their efforts. All we want is to have a voice in our workplace. It comes down to the dignity and respect that all workers deserve.”
PPRM healthcare workers are currently being overworked, underpaid and consistently pushed to spend less time with patients. This can’t change until they have a seat at the table with decision makers at PPRM. While clinic workers are told there is an open-door policy with PPRM leadership, there is no process to ensure that any changes are made, and many feel unheard entirely. With their entire two year effort to unionize in jeopardy because of the appeal approved by Trump appointed labor board members, the workers have launched a social media presence and met with many lawmakers.
Another Planned Parenthood affiliate fought a similar battle against workers in Oregon who attempted to organize, but the workers were ultimately successful and are working on their third contract. Healthcare workers are now asking that PPRM cease its union busting strategy and use those resources to better serve their patients and employees. Workers are asking that PPRM drop their appeal and work with them to create an environment most conducive to providing excellent patient care.