SEIU 1021

Planned Parenthood Northern California workers unionize with SEIU Local 1021
Workers stood united in the face of anti-union intimidation tactics, with a supermajority signing cards


On Friday, April 12, a federal mediator confirmed that 77% of Planned Parenthood Northern California (PPNorCal) workers signed union authorization cards to join SEIU Local 1021 and will be recognized as a union through voluntary recognition.

The mediator received 273 cards in support of forming a union, of which 245 were verified with signatures signed on or before January 22, for a 77% supermajority win.

“Today is the culmination of months of hard work and organizing. We are excited and eager to begin a new chapter at PPNorCal and use our voices to ensure our patients thrive. Now more than ever, the crucial reproductive health services we provide are facing threats from all sides, and we are determined to safeguard the wellbeing of our patients and frontline workers,” said Emily Chou, a reproductive health specialist at PPNorCal for a year and a half.

This is a huge victory for workers who want a seat at the table as PPNorCal executive leadership continues to make unilateral decisions that workers say adversely affect vulnerable patients and undermine Planned Parenthood’s stated mission.

PPNorCal employees continue to strive to “ensure all people have access to the care and resources they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures,” despite management’s actions and values not aligning.

PPNorCal workers started organizing in December 2023 and publicly announced their intention to form a union on January 22, 2024. They have since worked for months to secure a card check agreement to verify majority support in favor of forming a union with SEIU 1021. CEO Gilda Gonzales publicly declared her willingness to voluntarily recognize the union through the card check process.

Despite these claims, workers have cited ongoing intimidation tactics employed against them. These tactics are often used by anti-union consulting firms, like IRI Consultants, who, according to workers, were hired in February to conduct management training.

Workers also say management has spied on their NLRA-protected concerted union activities and made threats and phone calls to workers to create fear. Management enforced an anti-union dress policy only a few days after workers’ unionization efforts went public. 

Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision ended federal protection for abortion rights, demand at some California clinics has quadrupled, straining the ability of clinicians, nurses, administrative and support staff, and social workers to sustain heavier workloads. With the Arizona Supreme Court’s recent decision to ban all abortions in the state, workers are even more determined to fight for input in adequate staffing and scheduling to maintain quality patient care and improve deteriorating conditions for workers in the face of ever-increasing demands.

Kim Delhonte, a reproductive health specialist at PPNorCal for a year and a half, said, “Working at Planned Parenthood has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I have had. I love our patients and the care we provide. I’m excited that the day of having our union recognized has come. We need to have a say in important decisions concerning patient care and staff working conditions constantly made by upper management without input from the workers who know our community and do the work.”

Workers at PPNorCal believe in the organization’s mission. As a union, they vow to continue to advocate for the rights of patients and workers to ensure that all who come through the doors of Planned Parenthood receive the care and support they deserve.

Read more about the victory from KQED here.