Andy Stern is not yet out of the way but the battle among SEIU’s top officials for control of the 2.2 mn member union is well underway. Early reports had Anna Burger, currently head of Change to Win and Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU, favored to replace Stern. But King Harvest has learned that a memo from several SEIU VP’s, including Eliseo Medina, the powerful west coast based union official, is circulating backing fellow VP Mary Kay Henry over Burger.
Of course, the real question is whether the union will now attempt to restore internal union democracy and allow the members themselves a serious role in the process. The lack of transparency behind the departure of Stern and the battling secret emails now going on is not a great sign.
No matter the outcome the departure of Stern from the scene means a decline in the union’s political leverage. Neither Burger nor Henry are likely to have anything like the access to the White House that Stern, whom I called Obama’s Fifth Man, enjoyed over the the first year of the Obama Administration. That Stern would depart under these circumstances remains one of the stranger political developments we have witnessed of late.