Andy Stern: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Andrew L. "Andy" Stern
Born November 22, 1950 (1950-11-22) (age 59)
West Orange, New Jersey
Nationality  United States
Education B.A., 1971
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Title International President, SEIU
Term 1996–present
Predecessor Richard Cordtz
Successor incumbent
Political party Democrat
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)
Religion Judaism[1]
Board Affiliation citations: [3],[4],[5],[6]

Andrew L. "Andy" Stern (born November 22, 1950), is the president[7] of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the fastest-growing union in the Americas. SEIU is the second largest union in the United States and Canada after the National Education Association.[8][9] Stern was elected in 1996 to succeed John Sweeney. Stern is intent upon influencing federal legislation that helps revitalize the labor movement through universal health care, expanding union ranks via the Employee Free Choice Act (commonly known as “card check”) [10], stronger regulations on business, profit sharing for employees, and higher taxes, efforts consistent with a new global economic model that moves American businesses away from traditional, free-market capitalism [11].

For his talent at recruiting new members, Stern has been described as the "most important labor boss in America"[12]. 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”[13]. The share of workers belonging to a union in 2008 showed the largest annual growth rate since the first report in 1983.[14] Growth in SEIU in 2008—88,926 members[15]--accounted for nearly 21 percent of the national union membership growth.

Stern also currently holds an appointment as the Alice B. Grant Labor Leader in Residence at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.


Early life and career

Born the son of a lawyer in West Orange, New Jersey, 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.[16][17] After graduation, he spent time traveling in Europe and trained in the tactics of radical activism at the Midwest Academy[18], an educational institute formed by former Students for a Democratic Society member Paul and Heather Booth to teach leftist community organizers how to promote social change and infiltrate the labor movement[19]. Stern began his career as a welfare case officer and member of the SEIU in 1973, eventually being elected president of his Pennsylvania local.[17] In 1980, he was elected to the union's executive board, and in 1984 the union's then-president Sweeney put him in charge of its organizing efforts. Stern is a big 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.[20] Stern led SEIU out of the AFL-CIO and founded Change to Win [21], a six-million member federation of seven major unions dedicated to giving workers a voice at their jobs.

Stern holds an appointment as the Alice B. Grant Labor Leader in Residence at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.[22]

Internet and New Media

Stern has embraced political organizing via the Internet in the wake of the Howard Dean campaign, which his union endorsed.[citation needed] 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[23] and actively uses Twitter.[24]

Stern has been a key figure in financing the online grassroots community Netroots, along with Dean, George Soros, Simon Rosenberg, and Andrew S. Rappaport, to funnel a progressive agenda to liberal bloggers[25].

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. Traffic to SEIU's website has since increased[26] by well over 100,000 visitors.

A Country That Works

Stern is the author of the book, A Country That Works [27] (Free Press), in which he claims globalization and the perceived widening economic gap between rich and poor are the primary problems facing the world[18]. The book 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! [28] to promote the book.


Stern is divorced from Jane Perkins, a former head of the environmental network Friends of the Earth.[29] They have two children, Matt and Cassie. Cassie died in 2002.[1]

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.

Political Influence

Through Stern's leadership, the SEIU has 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 campaign[30] by Sen.John Kerry to oust former President George W. Bush[31]. The union spent another $85 million on Democratic candidates in 2008; $60 million going toward the election of President Barack Obama[32], with a significant chunk of that money funding door-to-door canvassing and other GOTV efforts[33], as well as voter registration.

Stern is referred to as one of "the chief architects of healthcare reform" in Modern Healthcare'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 $787 billion stimulus bill, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009[34].

Stern has been a frequent visitor to the White House since Obama's election[35]. Between Inauguration Day and July 31, 2009, Stern visited the White House 22 times, meeting with the president seven times[36].

Under Stern, the SEIU has poured millions into a group called Health Care for America NOW!, which set up pavilions at nearly every major health care protest in 2009, 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[32]. The SEIU recently "cut all ties to ACORN" after a pair of amateur journalists who, dressed as a pimp and hooker, filmed themselves obtaining advice from ACORN staff members on how best to shelter the proceeds of a child-prostitution ring from taxation[37]. .

Business positions
Preceded by
Richard Cordtz
President of the SEIU
Succeeded by


  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. ^
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  7. ^ "Andy Stern, SEIU International President". SEIU. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  8. ^ "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
  9. ^ AFL-CIO
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  14. ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics (January 28, 2009). "Union Members in 2008". 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." 
  15. ^
  16. ^ 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". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The Third Economic Revolution". Cornell University. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "SEIU_AndyStern (SEIU_AndyStern) on Twitter". San Francisco, CA. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  25. ^∂ner=rssnyt&pagewanted=print&adxnnlx=1152039670-Re2RQwgi2jck4dOv1PcNJg
  26. ^ "Site Profile for (rank #14,105)". Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ Democracy Now! | October 04, 2006
  29. ^ "Can This Man Save Labor?" "Business Week", 13 Sept. 2004
  30. ^,_2004
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  32. ^ a b
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