A Planned Parenthood affiliate has asked Trump labor board members for help in busting its own health care center workers’ attempt to unionize.
The civil war between left-wing Planned Parenthood and labor union SEIU began in December when workers at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Colorado coordinated with SEIU Local 105 to organize a group of 153 workers following complaints of long hours and pay below $15 per hour.
“It’s low compensation for the intense and emotional work we are doing,” Planned Parenthood employee Dominique Silverman said about her job, reports Law & Crime, which adds that “certain segments, though not all, of Planned Parenthood’s national office are currently unionized.”
The Planned Parenthood affiliate’s management, however, failed to recognize the new union and, instead, asked help of the Trump administration’s appointees on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to challenge the union’s formation.
In April, in the case of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood Inc. v. SEIU, Trump-appointed NLRB members Marvin Kaplan and Bill Emanuel voted with Planned Parenthood’s management, while Obama-appointed NLRB member Lauren McFerran sided with the workers and against the abortion provider, which wanted its workers to organize across three states instead of its 14 Rocky Mountain clinic sites.
The union and McFerran claimed, however, organizing across three states would prove an extremely difficult feat in that workers in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico would need to rally.
Despite Planned Parenthood’s attempt to seek Trump appointees’ help in breaking up the union effort, officials denied that was the case.
“We are not currently opposing efforts to organize our affiliate; we have asked the NLRB to consider whether all of our employees should be able to participate,” Planned Parenthood spokesperson Whitney Phillips said.
Interestingly, the Planned Parenthood Colorado affiliate’s political director is Jack Teter, a former official with Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), which opposes teachers’ unions. On its website, DFER states about America’s “deeply dysfunctional” public schools:
These systems, once viewed romantically as avenues of opportunity for all, have become captive to powerful, entrenched interests that too often put the demands of adults before the educational needs of children. This perverse hierarchy of priorities is political, and thus requires a political response.
As Paydayreport.com reports, SEIU denounced the effort by Planned Parenthood to use Trump NLRB members to bust its unionization efforts, especially in light of the union’s support of the abortion vendor against the Trump administration’s attempt to defund it:
“On issues of reproductive justice, immigration, health care access, human dignity in the workplace, SEIU Local 105 … has been an ally on local, national & even international campaigns,” said the union. “Let’s show we practice what we advocate for by continuing the bargaining process and dropping the review.”
According to the Intercept, the case could “set a precedent for workers’ rights nationwide”:
Going to the NLRB under Trump, rather than settling the matter internally, risks allowing the agency to set a precedent for other organizations. If Planned Parenthood is to prevail, it could be a setback for similar workers across the country, who may need to not just organize their own workplace, but organize people hundreds of miles away in order to be recognized.
“If PPRM wants to lift the voices of all of its employees, then it needs to prove it by stopping its effort to silence those that have decided to speak up and organize,” Amanda Martin, a health center worker said, according to the Intercept. “Now that these Colorado clinics have organized locally, there is a clear path for other workers in our organization to come together in the 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.”