More Unrest within Planned Parenthood
By Jim Sedlak
Over the last 15 months, there has been much upheaval within Planned Parenthood. It began to publicly come to light when the president of Planned Parenthood Federation issued a statement admitting that Planned Parenthood’s founder was a racist and that racism still permeates the organization.
This was followed in the next few months by 19 Planned Parenthood affiliates, which operate in a total of 33 states, openly admitting to the current racism in their own organizations. Their statements were documented in an American Life League special report Planned Parenthood’s Racism … In Their Own Words.
The admissions by Planned Parenthood were the result of internal fights led by minority-race employees at the organization who were greatly upset by what they described as unfair treatment. They complained of poor salaries, lack of advancement opportunities and, generally, being treated poorly by their White leaders and White fellow workers. Buzzfeed ran an article at the time that stated, in part, “An internal investigation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America national headquarters revealed the ‘childification’ of Black and brown employees. Childification means the ‘persistent treatment of Black people as children or adolescents who are unable to accomplish work independently, and viewed uniformly, such that they cannot be differentiated from one another.’ Illustrations in the report cited white employees confusing their Black colleagues’ names or having their appearance commented on and their hair touched without consent, ‘as though they are an object to be viewed and commented on, as though they are not there.’”
Aside from the obvious public relations problems these revelations caused, it also spurred a movement to unionize Planned Parenthood workers. For the most part, Planned Parenthood had avoided unionization throughout its empire for decades. But, today, there is a growing number of Planned Parenthood affiliates that have been, or are in the process of becoming, unionized—but not without controversy. Over the last few weeks, one such unionization effort has even led to public protests.
The New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism ran an article on August 29 concerning the unions at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England negotiating their first collective bargaining agreement. The article was spurred by a rally near PPNNE’s Manchester center.
PPNNE operates in three states: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In the current negotiations, the Vermont and New Hampshire employees are represented by the American Federation of Teachers Vermont branch, and the Maine employees are affiliated with the Maine State Employees and the Service Employees International Union.
The union negotiators are upset, and the issue is salaries. Although the unions have reached agreements with Planned Parenthood on several issues, salaries are the main point of contention. The unions say that salaries are “too low at the low end of the agency’s pay scale and rising too slowly for long-term employees.”
To illustrate the focus, the article stated: “When . . . a Holderness resident, arrived, she quickly grabbed a blank placard and marker to make a sign that said, ‘I cannot afford the care I provide.’ Others made signs reading, ‘Better Pay, Help Us Stay,’ and ‘A Livable Wage is All the Rage.’ Familiar pink ‘I Stand with Planned Parenthood’ signs were altered to, ‘I Stand with Planned Parenthood Workers.’”
STOPP has long pointed out the differences between Planned Parenthood executive salaries and the salaries paid to workers at its centers. While employees in New England are fighting for starting salaries to be raised from $15 an hour to $20 an hour, STOPP’s last CEO salaries report documented the average CEO annual salary at Planned Parenthood affiliates in 2017 was $255,523, with 40 percent of the CEOs making over $300,000 a year.
The unrest inside Planned Parenthood continues to grow. Leana Wen was fired for not pushing abortion enough. Her replacement as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America first joined the organization because she was outraged by a pro-life billboard in SoHo that she thought would discourage Black mothers from killing their preborn infants. Minority employees are demanding to be treated equal to White employees, while center workers are simply demanding a living wage. As all of this is going on, remember that United States’ taxpayers are giving Planned Parenthood over $600 million dollars a year—with over $14.3 million being paid to the top affiliate CEOs.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a talk show on the Radio Maria Network. He has been successfully fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.