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Planned Parenthood workers in several Mass. cities vote to unionize

In this June 4, 2019, file photo, a Planned Parenthood clinic is photographed in St. Louis.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Nearly 200 Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts workers at clinics in Boston and three other communities have overwhelmingly voted to join a union, according to 1199SEIU, the labor group now representing them.

The union confirmed in a statement Wednesday that 98 percent of workers at clinics in Boston, Worcester, Marlborough, and Springfield who participated in a mail-ballot election voted in favor of joining.

The workers who voted to become part of 1199SEIU, the statement said, includes health care assistants, registered nurses, patient navigators, educators, telehealth workers, advanced practice clinicians, and advocates.

Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, said in a statement that her organization looks forward to productive collective bargaining sessions with the union.

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“PPLM is proud to be the leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care in Massachusetts, and our staff are the bedrock of that care,” Childs-Roshak said. “PPLM has a long history of working alongside labor justice partners, and we respect our employees’ decision.

“After [the] vote, we remain committed to making the best decisions possible for all of our employees, patients, and communities, and look forward to a productive collective bargaining process,” she continued.

Meanwhile Cara Callahan, a continuity of care patient navigator at the Planned Parenthood league, said in the union’s statement that the vote was a victory for working people.

“This victory reinforces that there’s a tremendous amount of power when workers come together,” Callahan said. “Unionizing has been a way for us to invest in each other and gain some control over what our workplace looks like, especially given the climate we are in. We want to live our shared values to provide care for ourselves and one another. This ensures we can center our patients and make sure they get the quality care they need and deserve.”

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Callahan’s words were echoed in a statement by Tim Foley, executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

“This vote reinforces that the voices of healthcare heroes must be centered in safeguarding quality care in Massachusetts,” Foley said. “PPLM workers now have that opportunity and will be able to inform the future of reproductive and gender-affirming care in Massachusetts.”

The statement said the workers began organizing in 2022 and filed for their union election in May.

The vote comes at a time of increased momentum for labor unions nationwide, having successfully organized pockets of workers at corporate behemoths including Starbucks and Amazon and launched high-profile strikes at companies like John Deere and Kellogg’s.

It also comes amid heightened tensions at Planned Parenthood locations around the country following the US Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, fueling speculation that many people from red states seeking abortion care will flock to blue enclaves like Massachusetts for services.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.