Andy Stern

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For other people with this name, see Andrew Stern (disambiguation).
Andy Stern
President of the Service Employees International Union
In office
Preceded by Richard Cordtz
Succeeded by Mary Kay Henry
Personal details
Born (1950-11-22) November 22, 1950 (age 65)
West Orange, New Jersey,
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jane Perkins (Divorced)
Children Matt
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Religion Judaism[1]

Andrew L. "Andy" Stern (born November 22, 1950), is the former president[3][4] of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).[5][6] Stern is currently a senior fellow at Columbia University.[7] Stern supports federal legislation to create universal health care, expansion of union ranks via the Employee Free Choice Act,[8] more regulations on business, profit sharing for employees and higher taxes.[citation needed]

Stern has been described by CBS News as the "most important labor boss in America."[9] 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".[10] The share of workers belonging to a union in 2008 showed the largest annual growth rate since the first report in 1983.[11] Growth in SEIU in 2008—88,926 members[12]—accounted for nearly 21 percent of the national union membership growth.

He is Chair of the Board of the Broad Center, and a Board Member of the Open Society Foundations, and the Hillman Foundation.

In March, 2010, Stern was the Alice B. Grant Labor Leader in Residence at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and is the author of two books, A Country That Works,and Raising the Floor.

Early life and career[edit]

He grew up Jewish in West Orange, New Jersey, where his father was a lawyer. Stern was a student activist in the 1960s.[citation needed] 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.[13][14] Stern began his career as a welfare case officer and member of the SEIU in 1973, eventually being elected president of his Pennsylvania local.[14] 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.[citation needed]

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.[15] Stern led SEIU out of the AFL-CIO and founded Change to Win,[16] a six-million-member federation of seven major unions "dedicated to giving workers a voice at their jobs".

Stern was a senior fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute from 2010 - 2011. Since 2011, he has been a Senior Fellow at the Richmond Center, Columbia University

In 2016, Stern authored a book with Lee Kravitz entitled "Raising the Floor" in which he makes the case for a universal basic income.[17]

Internet and new media[edit]

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[18]

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.[19]

Through Stern's initiative, a New Media team was formed at SEIU in the late summer of 2008. The union's website was completely redesigned and relaunched shortly after.[20]

A Country That Works[edit]

In the book, A Country That Works[21] (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![22] to promote the book.


Stern is divorced from Jane Perkins, a former head of the environmental network Friends of the Earth.[23] They had two children, Matt and Cassie. Cassie died in 2002.[1]

Political influence[edit]

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.[24] The union spent another $85 million on Democratic candidates in 2008; $60 million going toward the election of President Barack Obama,[25] with a significant chunk of that money funding door-to-door canvassing and other GOTV efforts,[26] 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 Modern Healthcare'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.[citation needed]

Stern has been the most frequent visitor to the White House since Obama's election.[27][28] Between Inauguration Day and February 23, 2011, Stern visited the White House 53 times.[29]

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.[25] The SEIU "cut all ties to ACORN"[citation needed] after the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy.


On January 27, 2009, SEIU placed UHW West under trusteeship and dismissed 70 of the local's executives, including president Sal Rosselli.[30][31] 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.[32] 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, and SEIU filed a lawsuit in mid-2009 alleging that UHW West and NUHW officials embezzled millions of dollars.[33] In 2009 Former Labor Secretary Ray Marshall issued a report, "Acting as hearing officer, Mr. Marshall found that the local's president, Sal Rosselli, and other union officials had improperly transferred union money to a nonprofit group to use in a feud with the parent union. Mr. Marshall also concluded that the local had wrongly hidden $500,000 from the parent union by placing the money into a lawyer's trust account." On March 26, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court ruling that a jury awarded, "... individual judgments ranged from $31,400 to $77,850, and NUHW was assessed damages of $724,000".


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.


  1. ^ a b Duke, Lynne (January 3, 2006). "Love, Labor, Loss. A Child's Death Stirred Andrew Stern To Challenge Himself -- and Unionism". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  2. ^ "Andrew L. Stern." Marquis Who's Who, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2009. Fee via Fairfax County Public Library, accessed 2009-08-12. Document Number: K2016166524.
  3. ^ "Andy Stern - SEIU - retirement". Mediaite. 2010-04-14. Archived from the original on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  4. ^ "Andy Stern, SEIU International President". SEIU. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  5. ^ "National Labor Organizations with Membership over 100,000". Infoplease. Pearson Education. Retrieved 2009-08-12. Members Union1 2,731,419 National Education Association of the United States2 1,505,100 Service Employees International Union  U.S. Department of Labor
  6. ^ "Afl-Cio". Afl-Cio. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "SEIU's Andy Stern to lead Goldman Sachs protest - Victoria McGrane". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  9. ^ Font size Print E-mail Share Page 1 of 3 By Daniel Schorn (2006-05-14). "Andy Stern: The New Boss - 60 Minutes". CBS News. Archived from the original on 4 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  10. ^ Kaminski, Matthew (2008-12-06). "Weekend Interview: Union Boss Andy Stern -". Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  11. ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics (January 28, 2009). "Union Members in 2008". Union Members Summary. U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 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. 
  12. ^ "Statement of SEIU President Andy Stern Regarding Growth in Union Membership in 2008 - SEIU - Service Employees International Union". SEIU. 2009-01-28. Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  13. ^ Kaminski, Matthew (December 6, 2008). "Andy Stern - Let's 'Share the Wealth' - America's most powerful union boss says Europe offers a good economic model". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  14. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  15. ^ Edsall, Thomas B. (July 26, 2005). "Two Top Unions Split From AFL-CIO, Others Are Expected To Follow Teamsters". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  16. ^ "About Us". Change to Win. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Andy Stern". Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  19. ^ Bai, Matt (2004-07-25). "Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ "Site Profile for (rank #14,105)". Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  21. ^ "A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track by Andy Stern - Powell's Books". 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  22. ^ "October 04, 2006". Democracy Now!. 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  23. ^ ""Can This Man Save Labor?" "Business Week", 13 Sept. 2004". 2004-09-13. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  24. ^ Kirkland, Rik; Contributor, Fortune (2006-10-10). "The new face of labor". CNN. 
  25. ^ a b "Unholy Union by Stephen Spruiell on National Review / Digital". Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  26. ^ "SEIU's Data Footprint In 2008 - Politics - The Atlantic". 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  27. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (October 31, 2009). "White House Visitor Log Lists Stars and C.E.O.'s". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  28. ^ Davis, Susan (2009-10-30). "SEIU's Stern Tops White House Visitor List - Washington Wire - WSJ". Archived from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  29. ^ Carney, Timothy (2011-02-23) Obama's top funder also leads the nation in White House visits, Washington Examiner
  30. ^ Raine, George (2009-01-28). ""SEIU Takes Over West Coast Union", San Francisco Chronicle (January 28, 2009)". Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  31. ^ Steven T. Jones, "Union Showdown", San Francisco Bay Guardian (January 28, 2009)
  32. ^ "George Raine, "Ousted SEIU Leaders Push Decertification Vote", San Francisco Chronicle (February 3, 2009)". 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  33. ^ Shaw, Randy. "Randy Shaw, Beyond Chron (April 12, 2010)". Retrieved 2011-02-25. 

External links[edit]

Trade union offices
Preceded by
Richard Cordtz
President of the Service Employees International Union
Succeeded by
Mary Kay Henry