Andrew Stern set to resign as head of major union, SEIU official says
Updated 11:43 p.m.
By Alec MacGillis and Philip Rucker
Andrew Stern, the most politically influential and controversial union official in the country, is preparing to resign his position as head of the Service Employees International Union, according to a union official and a senior Democratic official.
Diane Sosne, the head of an SEIU chapter in Seattle, e-mailed colleagues at midday Monday to alert them to Stern's imminent departure.
"Last night I received confirmation that Andy Stern is resigning as President of SEIU," she wrote. "He has not yet made a public announcement; we will share the details as we become aware of them." Sosne's e-mail was first reported by Politico late Monday; The Washington Post also obtained a copy of it.
Asked to comment Monday night on Sosne's remarks, SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette instead released a statement that Stern would address "increasing speculation regarding [his] intention to step down as president ..... in 2012" later this week, when the union's executive committee meets in Washington.
The Democratic official confirmed that Stern intends to step down from his presidency. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid irritating union officials.
Stern, 59, took the helm of SEIU in 1996, succeeding his mentor John Sweeney after he left to assume the presidency of the AFL-CIO federation.
But in 2005, Stern sent shock waves through the labor movement when he took SEIU out of the AFL-CIO and created a rival federation with several other breakaway unions, including the Teamsters. He argued that the AFL-CIO had become too complacent and not aggressive enough about organizing new workers to stem its membership decline.
April 12, 2010; 11:10 PM ET
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