Stern, Andrew L.

Stern, Andrew L., 1950–, American labor leader, b. West Orange, N.J., grad., Univ. of Pennsylvania (B.A., 1971). A charismatic and frequently controversial reformer, he became a significant figure in the labor union movement. As a Pennsylvania state social worker he joined (1973) the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), became a field organizer, the president of his local, and a member of SEIU's executive board (1980). In 1996 he succeeded John J. Sweeney as union president. Stern earned a reputation as a new kind of union boss, building the various SEIU locals into a more cohesive national union, analyzing labor problems from a global perspective, and advocating a less confrontational approach to management in attaining worker benefits, but his methods also provoked opposition from some locals in the SEIU. He was also the leader of a reform movement within the AFL-CIO, but after failing to achieve the desired changes he led the SEIU out of the federation and with several other union leaders founded (2005) the Change to Win Federation . He stepped down as SEIU president in 2010 and was replaced by Mary Kay Henry , the union's first female leader.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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