AFL-CIO: Abortion rights are workers rights


The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to reverse its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision drew immediate statements of opposition from a handful of national labor organizations. 

Liz Shuler, president of the national AFL-CIO, called it “a devastating blow to working women and families across this country.”

“We strongly believe that everyone should have control over their own bodies, including decisions over their personal reproductive health care,” Shuler said in the statement.

Several international unions made similar statements, including Association of Flight Attendants, AFSCME, ILWU, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and SEIU.

“Reproductive rights are workers’ rights,” declared AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “The decision about when and whether to bear children is fundamental to the ability to pursue self-sustaining work.”

The court ruled 6 to 3—in a case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. That means the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the states. Twenty-six states are expected to ban or severely restrict abortion. Abortion became immediately illegal in seven states that had so-called “trigger laws” that were set to take effect if the Court reversed Roe, and restrictions are coming quickly in six other states, including Idaho, where a trigger law that will take effect 30 days after the decision.

Oregon, Washington and California all have a firmly established right to abortion, and there’s little likelihood  that will change any time soon.

At statewide conventions, delegates to both WSLC and Oregon AFL-CIO have passed resolutions supporting reproductive health access.

“Our labor movement includes working people who have abortions, whose loved ones have had abortions, and who provide abortion care,” declared Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) president Larry Brown and Secretary Treasurer April Sims in a press statement. 


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