Healthcare workers across 26 Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest facilities have voted to improve reproductive healthcare and jobs by uniting in SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), a union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers across California.

The victory was overwhelming: 93 percent of voters supported joining SEIU-UHW. The election covers 550 frontline workers in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties.

Workers at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest have faced an overwhelming surge in patients from other states seeking reproductive care in post-Roe America. According to recent reports, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest has seen a 967% increase in patients from Arizona following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“This is a huge win for our patients and for reproductive justice,” said Jovana Ortiz, a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood – First Avenue Specialty Services in San Diego. “Since Roe was overturned, our clinics have become a sanctuary for people from other states needing safe, legal reproductive healthcare. My co-workers and I take great pride in being on the frontlines to meet this need with skill and compassion. Now that we’re union, we’ll have a voice to ensure strong staffing levels, first-rate patient care, and good jobs so we can recruit and hold onto the best caregivers.”

This win continues the statewide unionization wave sweeping through healthcare. This is the ninth group of healthcare workers in the San Diego area to unite in SEIU-UHW recently. Workers at Sharp Grossmont Hospital and Sharp HospiceCare joined the union earlier this year, and six groups of Fresenius dialysis workers in the region have done the same in recent months. With these wins, 2,200 San Diego healthcare workers have now united in SEIU-UHW.

“Hundreds of healthcare and administrative workers from Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest secured a major win today,” said Alex Scordato, a senior training specialist at Planned Parenthood – Holliday Family Administration Center in San Diego. “We unionized not just to improve our workplace but to expand patient access, improve the quality of care, and inspire other Planned Parenthood affiliates to do the same. We look forward to bargaining in good faith with our employer and securing a fair and equitable contract.”

The 550 workers at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest who unionized represent a variety of job classes, including registered nurses, clinicians, medical assistants, licensed clinical social workers, patient access specialists, care delivery trainers, clinical lab scientists, interim patient flow coordinators, and non-licensed administrative staff.

From SEIU release