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Ear to the Ground

SEIU President to Step Down

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Posted on Apr 13, 2010
Andy Stern
Wikimedia Commons / Joi

In his 14 years as head of the SEIU, Andy Stern gathered tens of thousands of janitors, home health care workers, recent immigrants and undocumented workers under the union’s umbrella.

After 14 years of leading the Service Employees International Union through some major changes and growth spurts, and after months of courting unfriendly fire from right-wing ranks by paying frequent visits to the White House, SEIU President Andy Stern is preparing to step down from his powerful post, according to multiple reports.  —KA

Los Angeles Times:

Since 1996, when he became president of the SEIU, Stern has led the union to grow faster than any other, adding more than 800,000 members in the last decade.

Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, called Stern a groundbreaking labor leader who challenged conventional wisdom by organizing groups of workers “that nobody thought could be organized.”

He organized tens of thousands of janitors, home health care workers, recent immigrants and undocumented workers that other unions had deemed too risky.

He famously led his union and several others to break away from the AFL-CIO—the nation’s largest labor federation—to form the rival Change to Win federation. He complained that the older federation focused too much on political campaigns and not enough on recruiting new members.

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