As Contract Fight Drags On, Planned Parenthood Workers Say Enough Is EnoughFebruary 22, 2021
Frustrated 1199ers at four New York City clinics run by Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) held informational pickets Jan. 7 to demand that management stop dragging their feet and settle a fair contract now.
Workers voted unanimously in August 2019 to join 1199SEIU. And PPGNY’s stalling around a contract settlement commenced almost immediately. More recently, PPGNY telegraphed its intransigence by hiring an HR director straight from a union-busting law firm. And as New York City’s second wave of COVID-19 hit its peak, PPGNY proposed givebacks on workers’ healthcare coverage. Members, who provide a broad array of health services to some of New York City’s most vulnerable patient groups, were outraged.
“We have always been proud to work for an organization like Planned Parenthood—whose mission we strongly believe in,” said Maya Noonan, a Programs Manager at PPGNY. “To better care for patients and the communities we serve, our workers deserve a fair contract.
We should not have to make a public demand to make our voices heard.”
Several elected officials, including Bronx Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-15CD), New York State Senators Brad Hoylman (D-27) and Julia Salazar (D-18), and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards expressed, public support for PPGNY workers by joining the demonstrations or sending video and written messages. BP Richards walked a blustery picket line with PPGNY workers in Long Island City.
“During this deadly pandemic, the members of 1199SEIU who work at PPGNY have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their efforts to provide comprehensive reproductive health services,” Richards said.
“These members should not be rewarded for their efforts with the unfair and inadequate contract proposals that have been made by PPGNY.”
Mariko Yamasaki, an RN Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Borough Hall Health Center in Brooklyn, called on management to come to the bargaining table in good faith—instead of creating roadblocks.
“Senior leadership says they want to work in partnership with us,” noted Yamasaki. “But instead they are creating difficulties and causing a lot of anger. We need to see a very different approach [from them] if we are going to move forward constructively.”
At press time, more bargaining sessions were scheduled with workers determined to hold fast to their demands.