- RONALD O. PERELMAN SENIOR FELLOW, RICHMAN CENTER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
- DIRECTOR OF AMERICAWORKS
- PRESIDENT-EMERITUS, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION (SEIU), CTW, CLC
Andy Stern is the former president of the 2.2 million member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest union of health care, hospital, nursing home, homecare, janitors, security officers, child care, food service, and state workers, and the fastest-growing union in North America. Under his tenure as president, SEIU bucked the trend and through its signature national and global organizing campaigns, Justice for Janitors (janitors), There Is No Place Like Home (home care workers), and Kids First (child care) grew by more than 1.2 million workers, turning traditionally underpaid service work into jobs that can help support a family and lift up a community.
SEIU was also widely credited for creating the most effective grassroots political organization, and raising the country’s largest political action fund that helped elect President Barack Obama in 2008. Called a “courageous, visionary leader who charted a bold new course for American unionism,” the union was recognized as the most engaged and influential advocate of healthcare reform, helping secure the historic passage of the 2010 Health Care Reform Act.
Previously as a labor leader, and today in new roles, Stern is a leading voice on major issues confronting American workers. Stern’s practical solutions and 21st century ideas about restoring the American Dream are featured in his book, A Country That Works (Free Press), which offers a fresh prescription for the vital political and economic reforms America needs to get back on track. Stern continues that work as a Senior Fellow at Columbia University; Director of AmericaWorks, a project of the Tides Foundation; and was named in 2010 as a Presidential appointee to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
His name is frequently found on the short lists for everything from Washington’s most influential leaders on healthcare to Modern HealthCare’s Top 10 leaders. In 2010 Stern was the Fox “Power Player of the Week”, had the “Last Word” on CNN with John King, was a Fortune and Washingtonian Magazine“Top Power Player” and topped the visitor’s list in the first six months of the Obama presidency according to the White House’s visitor log .
He has been profiled by 60 Minutes, Bill Moyers, Charlie Rose, Fortune, the Washingtonian, Business Week, and The New York Times Magazine.
Stern began working as a social service worker and member of SEIU Local 668 in 1973. He served as organizing director for SEIU before his landmark election as SEIU’s youngest president in 1996. After launching a national debate about the fundamental change needed to unite the 9 out of 10 American workers who have no organization at work, Stern led SEIU out of the AFL-CIO and transformed the national labor landscape by founding the Change to Win labor federation with six other major unions in 2005.
Stern is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and has two children Matt and Cassie.