Planned Parenthood staff unionize
DES MOINES, Iowa — About 400 workers at Planned Parenthood offices in five states said Thursday they plan to unionize as their employer deals with the potential loss of business in states where abortions could become illegal if the United States Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade Decision.
Planned Parenthood North Central States workers in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota said they had signed cards showing majority support for unionization, and on Thursday they filed a request to union election to the National Labor Relations Board, said Ashley Schmidt, a training and development specialist for Nebraska and western Iowa.
They plan to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union that has about 1 million members in 29 states, including doctors, nurses and lab technicians.
Unionization in various fields has recently gained momentum after decades of declining union membership in the United States
Planned Parenthood workers include nurses, education outreach workers, community organizers and other non-management employees from 28 clinics across the five states. They provide services such as reproductive care, cancer screening and abortions.
In a call with reporters on Thursday, employees discussed concerns about unequal pay for similar positions in different locations, lower pay than other healthcare providers, high turnover related to the burnout and burnout, and the feeling that management does not always listen to workers’ concerns.
Oklahoma abortion ban is enacted
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed into law the nation’s toughest abortion ban, making the state the first in the nation to effectively end the procedure’s availability.
State lawmakers on Wednesday approved the ban imposed through civil suits rather than criminal lawsuits, similar to the Texas law passed last year. It takes effect immediately and prohibits abortions with a few exceptions. Abortion providers had said they would stop performing the procedure as soon as the bill was signed into law.
“I promised the people of Oklahom that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk and I am proud to keep that promise today,” said the Republican of first term in a press release.
“The impact will be disastrous for Oklahomans,” said Elizabeth Nash, state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute. “It will also have severe ripple effects, especially for patients from Texas who traveled to Oklahoma in large numbers after Texas’ six-week abortion ban went into effect in September. .”
The only exceptions to Oklahoma law are to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.
Church vandals leave abortion slogans
COLUMBUS, Mississippi — Authorities in a rural Mississippi county say they are stunned and perplexed after finding a small, isolated church vandalized with abortion rights slogans.
“It’s mystifying, you know? said St. Elmore Armistad, deacon at Mount Avery Missionary Baptist Church in Lowndes County.
Graffiti includes “Keep your laws off my body” and “Girls just want to have basic human rights”.
It has nothing to do with the church, where about five people regularly attend services, Armistad told The Commercial Dispatch.
“We don’t preach abortion,” he said. “We preach Jesus Christ. It just doesn’t fit.”
Armistad said he went to the church on Monday afternoon and the sides and back of the building were covered in black, pale blue and pink graffiti.
“Why us? That’s the first thing I asked myself,” he said. “You hear about things like this happening elsewhere, but you don’t understand until it happens to you.”
Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins called the vandalism “strange”, noting that the church, east of Columbus near the Alabama line, was in the middle of nowhere on a little traveled road.
He said investigators are looking for suspects on what will likely be a vandalism charge. Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the damage estimate.
Paint project related cruise ship smell
NORFOLK, Va. — A paint project was the source of a smell that affected cruise ship passengers in Virginia and prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to send a team to investigate Thursday, Carnival Cruise Line said.
The Coast Guard received reports Wednesday of a smell and people feeling sick on the Carnival Magic, Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann said. He said a crew made it to the ship on Thursday morning but no one needed to be evacuated for medical attention. The ship is moored in Norfolk.
The smell was produced by an exterior painting project that took place on Wednesday, Carnival said. “The ship’s crew responded quickly and provided assistance to passengers,” the company said.
Carnival said the ship returned to Norfolk as scheduled and all passengers disembarked.