TimesUnion reports Planned Parenthood of Greater New York has begun laying off and furloughing employees and will temporarily close a dozen of its health centers, citing a strain on resources posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The organization — which formed in January through the merger of five Planned Parenthood affiliates, including the Mohawk Hudson affiliate in the Capital Region — began terminating and furloughing staff on Monday, according to emails obtained by the Times Union. Staff will be reduced by about 28 percent across all departments, either through permanent termination, or through furloughs and reduced hours through June 30.
The temporary closure of health centers will leave some communities, such as Rome and Oneida in Central New York, with no nearby options for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing or abortion services, according to staff at those centers.
“Our concern is that there was no effort to keep offices open, even one or two days per week, in those communities,” said one staff member who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. “Those patients have a very hard time traveling, and don’t have access to care anywhere else.”
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York President and CEO Laura McQuade wrote in a letter to staff Monday that financial modeling showed losses for the affiliate ranging from $20 million to $32 million for the remainder of the year, depending on how long the pandemic lasts and its impact on fundraising.
“Despite our best effort, this pandemic has put an incredible strain on our resources, and unfortunately, though not unexpectedly, the financial effects of this crisis are significant … Sadly, these losses will be catastrophic for PPGNY if we do not take steps now to reduce the financial impact on our organization,” she wrote.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, which represents some of the affiliate’s workers, says it proposed alternative cost-cutting measures such as stopping 401K contributions for all unit members, reducing salaries over $90,000 by 10 to 30 percent, reducing employment from full time to part time or per-diem, and reducing vacation time, in hopes of avoiding layoffs and furloughs, according to a letter obtained by the Times Union.
“We have been repeatedly rebuffed in our attempts to save money in order to save our colleagues’ jobs,” the bargaining committee wrote in a letter to the organization. “Your unwillingness to consider our cost-cutting proposals indicates that you are less concerned with the current economic realities associated with the coronavirus pandemic and more committed to eliminating staff.”
Entire departments and programs such as clinical research, clinical training, government relations, youth educational programs and victim advocacy services have been “decimated” by the furloughing of a majority of their staff, the committee wrote.