Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin workers vote to form union

81 percent voted in favor of joining the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals

A blue sign says "Planned Parenthood."
A sign outside of the Planned Parenthood in Waukegan, Ill., on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Angela Major/WPR

Workers at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin have voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing.

Ballots counted on Thursday show workers voted 56-13 to be represented by the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. Planned Parenthood said there were 133 eligible voters, but only 69 ballots cast.

In announcing the results Friday, the union described the vote as a “pivotal moment in the history of reproductive healthcare advocacy and the resurgence of the labor movement in Wisconsin.” The union expects the National Labor Relations Board to certify the election results in the coming days.

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Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals President Connie Smith said in a statement the union is proud to welcome Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin workers.

“While healthcare workers are struggling through unprecedented challenges, many are coming together to improve their lives and better care for their patients by forming a union,” Smith said. “There is power in a union, and our union will continue to use our power to guarantee that all healthcare is a human right.”

The union also provided a statement from a nurse practitioner who has worked for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin for 5 years, named Andrea. The union did not provide her last name, citing safety concerns in the current political environment. 

In the statement, Andrea said workers were proud to form a union to improve their ability to care for patients. 

“I chose to provide healthcare at Planned Parenthood for a reason, and I’ve chosen to organize a union with my coworkers for that same reason: the patients, the work, and the workers deserve the best,” she said. “My coworkers and I have voted to help secure and shape the direction of our work for the future.”

Andrea also said she believes it’s important for health care workers to organize to ensure they have a seat at the table in decision-making.

A joint statement from Smith and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO Tanya Atkinson said the union and health care provider hope to build a “good working relationship” centered on caring for employees and patients.

“We thank employees for voting and look forward to bargaining in good faith to ensure Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin continues to provide excellent patient care,” the statement read.