August 9, 2011; Source: Portland Mercury | One in ten women in Oregon rely on a Planned Parenthood clinic for their reproductive health care, so when a major provider like Planned Parenthood Columbia Wilamette (PPCW) faces unionization, it is a big deal.
The 160 workers considering joining ranks with Local 49 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) apparently do not have specific complaints, but they do want more of a say in the planning and administration of the clinics. As is common in such situations, both management and union are accusing each other of intimidating workers in an effort to get them to vote their way. The author of this newswire experienced a unionization drive while she was in management and recalls how the wording of all communications became terribly important, so it is unsurprising that some of these accusations fly back and forth.
But this author also knows that paying for a labor lawyer is a potential cost of doing business in many fields, and the chair of the board, David Greenberg, may wish to resist making statements that imply that the cost of hiring legal counsel will “dramatically increase costs for PPCW.” That dog probably won’t hunt. As he says elsewhere, “Planned Parenthood has always stood for choice. . . Our employees, like our patients, should be fully informed to make decisions about their future.”—Ruth McCambridge