Update: This entry has been updated to reflect Stern's official retirement announcement.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern announced his retirement on April 14. Stern, who has served in this capacity since 1996, has been a controversial labor figure, having led the departure of several major unions from the AFL-CIO to form the labor affiliate Change to Win in 2005. Stern also was instrumental in the breakup of UNITE HERE, which had been created by the merger of HERE, representing workers in the hotel and food service industries, and UNITE, which organized workers in the textile and apparel industries. The resulting split left some members to form the competing Workers United union, which subsequently affiliated with the SEIU. The remaining members of UNITE HERE, which included mostly former HERE members, rejoined the AFL-CIO.
Stern has led the SEIU to be the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. Although it is uncertain who will permanently replace Stern, a recent New York Times article speculates that SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger will take the helm. Burger is also Chair of Change to Win, and will serve as interim president until the SEIU's International Executive Board votes on a successor within the next 30 days. Other possible candidates include Mary Kay Henry, SEIU’s Executive Vice President.
Photo credit: SEIU