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WSLC: ‘Reproductive rights are workers’ rights’

Washington State Labor Council will fight to defend healthcare choices, abortion rights


WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 3, 2022) — A draft opinion leaked Monday night from the majority of the Supreme Court indicates the conservative-controlled court will soon overturn the right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade.

With the 2019 passage of Resolution #31, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO — the state’s largest union organization, which represents the interests of more than 600 organizations with approximately 550,000 union members — has affirmed that “reproductive rights are workers’ rights and (the WSLC) will defend and support efforts to obtain and maintain health care for working people covering all reproductive rights choices.”

“The impending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is an attack on all working people, but particularly those with lower incomes,” said WSLC President Larry Brown and Secretary Treasurer April Sims in a statement. “Denying healthcare choices to those who lack the means to travel and seek proper care would be a despicable act of government control over the bodies of people who can get pregnant. The unions that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO have made it clear that reproductive rights are workers’ rights. We intend to aggressively defend those rights in Washington state and across the nation.”

Until the leaked decision is published — likely in the next two months — Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. And even after any Supreme Court decision to overturn it, Washington state law has robust protections in place to protect reproductive choices and abortion rights.

Following is Resolution #31, as approved by delegates representing the WSLC’s affiliated unions:


Resolution #31

WHEREAS, the 2016 Delegates of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO passed Resolution 14 to Defend Reproductive Rights, calling on the WSLC to affirm that reproductive rights are essential to full citizenship and to defend and support efforts to obtain and maintain health care for people who can get pregnant, covering all reproductive rights choices, including abortion and contraception; and

WHEREAS, reproductive rights are still under attack, as seen by 9 recent laws passed in different states in 2019 that severely restrict and limit access to reproductive choice and are virtually abortion bans for people without a means to travel, the means to pay for child care to travel for, or to take time off from work to get and receive reproductive healthcare; and

WHEREAS, people who work can become pregnant, and people who work should be able to decide if and when they will start a family, and pregnancy can impact wages, benefits, and working conditions which are workplace issues, therefore reproductive rights are workers’ rights; and

WHEREAS, restricting people’s reproductive choice directly impedes people’s ability to get work and keep work; and

WHEREAS, outdated social norms on womanhood and motherhood are used as mechanisms of control over reproductive autonomy, and breaking down these outdated norms allows people the ability to make an economic choice to take on the cost of $280,000 on average to raise a child; and

WHEREAS, due to structural racism, black women and women of color are most affected by reproductive health inequities and restrictions of reproductive rights, which is a tool of the state to control black and brown bodies; and

WHEREAS, people seeking access to reproductive healthcare and the workers that provide reproductive healthcare – many who are Union siblings – have been publicly vilified and forced to proceed through angry, noisy and threatening crowds in order to enter these healthcare facilities; and

WHEREAS, there has been an increase of murder, arson, threats, harassment and intimidation of clients, their friends and families, the workers in abortion clinics, and the providers of abortion and other lawful birth control methods, resulting in a Pennsylvania State Court ruling this July that security risks for people who work in abortion clinics justify a decision to redact their names and license numbers before making government records available to the public; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, affirms that reproductive rights are workers’ rights and will defend and support efforts to obtain and maintain health care for working people covering all reproductive rights choices; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that this resolution will be communicated to the Governor of the State of Washington, and elected U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives, and request that they oppose any legislation that restricts reproductive rights.

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