|Born||Andrew L. Stern
November 22, 1950
West Orange, New Jersey
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania|
|Title||International President, SEIU|
|Successor||Mary Kay Henry|
Board member of
|SEIU International Executive Board, Economic Policy Institute, Rock the Vote, AFL-CIO Union Privilege, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (Executive Committee), Center for Community and Corporate Ethics (Chairman), The Broad Foundation
Formerly, Executive Committee of the Democratic Party auxiliary America Coming Together (ACT)
Formerly, Advisory Comm. of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Resignation as of 2/1/2010)
|Spouse(s)||Jane Perkins (div. )|
|Children||Matt, Cassie (dec.)|
Andrew L. "Andy" Stern (born November 22, 1950), is the former president of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Stern is currently a Senior Fellow at Columbia University. Stern supports federal legislation that helps revitalize the labor movement through universal health care, expanding union ranks via the Employee Free Choice Act, stronger regulations on business, profit sharing for employees, higher taxes, and efforts consistent with the improvement of the lives of workers.
For his talent at recruiting new members, Stern has been described as the "most important labor boss in America". Stern is unapologetic about targeting private equity firms, shaming business leaders, and competing to build SEIU's membership: “We like to say: We use the power of persuasion first. If it doesn't work, we try the persuasion of power”. The share of workers belonging to a union in 2008 showed the largest annual growth rate since the first report in 1983. Growth in SEIU in 2008—88,926 members—accounted for nearly 21 percent of the national union membership growth.
In March, 2010, Stern was the Alice B. Grant Labor Leader in Residence at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Early life and career
He grew up Jewish in West Orange, N.J., where his father was a lawyer. Stern was a student leftist in the 1960s. He began college as a business major at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business but ultimately graduated in 1971 with a B.A. in education and urban planning. Stern began his career as a welfare case officer and member of the SEIU in 1973, eventually being elected president of his Pennsylvania local. In 1980, he was elected to the union's executive board, and in 1984 the union's then-president John Sweeney put him in charge of its organizing efforts. Stern is a backer of the Employee Free Choice Act.
In 1996, Stern was elected to the presidency of the union. After launching a national debate aimed at uniting the 9 out of 10 American workers who have no organization at work, SEIU, along with the Teamsters, announced on July 25, 2005 that they were disaffiliating from the AFL-CIO. Stern led SEIU out of the AFL-CIO and founded Change to Win, a six-million member federation of seven major unions "dedicated to giving workers a voice at their jobs".
Stern is now a Senior Fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
Internet and new media
Stern has embraced political organizing via the Internet in the wake of the Howard Dean campaign, which his union endorsed. In fall of 2005, he launched an online contest called Since Sliced Bread that awarded $100,000 for the best new economic idea in America. Since 2005, Stern has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post and actively uses Twitter.
Stern has been a key figure in financing the online grassroots "netroots" community, along with Dean, George Soros, Simon Rosenberg, and Andrew S. Rappaport, to funnel a progressive agenda to liberal bloggers.
Through Stern's initiative, a New Media team was formed at SEIU in the late summer of 2008. The union's website, SEIU.org, was completely redesigned and relaunched shortly after. Traffic to SEIU's website has since increased by well over 100,000 visitors.
A Country That Works
In the book, A Country That Works (Free Press), Stern calls for unions to be the dominant vehicles for the promotion of social reforms, including espousing the benefits of increased taxation on the wealthy and universal health care. On October 3, 2006, he appeared on The Colbert Report to promote his new book A Country That Works. On October 4, he appeared on Democracy Now! to promote the book.
Stern has a brother Ken a lawyer in Colorado, Tom a lawyer in North Carolina, a sister Ellen an attorney in Washington, D.C., and a sister Tricia a social worker in New Jersey. His mother Sue lives in Colorado.
During the years of Stern's leadership, the SEIU funneled vast amounts of financing to the Democratic Party and its candidates, far outnumbering the contributions of other unions during the last two election cycles. SEIU contributed $65 million to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. The union spent another $85 million on Democratic candidates in 2008; $60 million going toward the election of President Barack Obama, with a significant chunk of that money funding door-to-door canvassing and other GOTV efforts, as well as voter registration.
Stern is referred to as one of "the chief architects of healthcare reform" in Modern Healthcare magazine's ranking of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare for 2009. Stern has been named to MH's annual "movers and shakers in healthcare" list for five years in a row. Stern is an ardent supporter of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Under Stern, the SEIU has poured millions into a group called Health Care for America NOW!, which, at times, fought strongly for universal healthcare including single payer and has given the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now nearly $6 million since 2006 – including $250,000 in 2009 – according to U.S. Department of Labor disclosure and the union's own statements. The SEIU "cut all ties to ACORN" after the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy.
Trusteeship of UHW west
On January 27, 2009, SEIU placed UHW West under trusteeship and dismissed 70 of the local's executives, including president Sal Rosselli. Rosselli and other ousted leaders reformed under the National Union of Healthcare Workers and pushed for UHW West members at 60 facilities to vote to decertify SEIU. As of March 22, 2009, a total of 91,000 UHW West members (a majority of UHW West members) signed decertification petitions to leave SEIU and join NUHW. Stern and SEIU filed a lawsuit in mid-2009 alleging that UHW West and NUHW officials embezzled millions of dollars. The lawsuit ended on April 9, 2010 with a small award for SEIU, smaller than their legal costs.
Stern announced on April 13, 2010, that he would be stepping down as president of the SEIU. Confirmation of his resignation came from Diane Sosne, a member of the union's board and president of an SEIU local based in Seattle.
|President of the SEIU
Mary Kay Henry
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Members Union1 2,731,419 National Education Association of the United States2 1,505,100 Service Employees International UnionU.S. Department of Labor
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In 2008, union members accounted for 12.4 percent of employed wage and salary workers, up from 12.1 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of workers belonging to a union rose by 428,000 to 16.1 million.
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- Andy Stern's website
- Biography page & online media kit of Andy Stern from SEIU website
- Andy Stern's Twitter account
- Aaron Bernstein. "Can This Man Save Labor?" BusinessWeek. September 13, 2004.
- New York Times Magazine cover story on Stern, 30 January 2005
- Stern's Blog at the Huffington Post
- 60 Minutes Interview (May 14, 2006)
- A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track
- Interview on Bill Moyers Journal (June 2007)
- Rik Kirkland, "The new face of labor", Fortune, October 10, 2006
- Video (and audio) of conversation with Andy Stern and Robert Reich on Bloggingheads.tv
- Andy Stern Video in Japan on YouTube