Andy Stern — union boss, frequent White House visitor, health-care field marshal, and Democratic cheerleader — will reportedly step down from his post atop the 1.9 million-strong Service Employees International Union “very soon.” Stern’s departure would open the way for Anna Burger, the union’s secretary-treasuer, or executive-VP Mary Kay Henry, to take over the role.
Stern and the SEIU, which represents hundreds of thousands of health workers, had their sights set on a labor-friendly health-care bill, something they got (Cadillac Tax and all) in the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t hurt that Stern personally visited the White House twenty times in Obama’s first six months in office, and had a former high-level union operative placed inside the Oval Office in the form of Patrick Gaspard, Obama’s director of political affairs. And with the recess appointment of Craig Becker, former counsel to the SEIU, to Obama’s Labor Relations Board, Stern’s presumably feels his union’s position inside the administration is sufficiently robust that he can step down.
The SEIU spent over $65 million to help elect President Obama in 2008.