New leader plans massive expansion for union representing the most nursing home employees

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The new president of the Service Employees International Union said she plans to increase the SEIU's involvement with politics, and has left the door open for other possible changes, according to news reports. Mary Kay Henry was elected the new SEIU president on Saturday, succeeding lightning rod Andy Stern who last month made a surprise retirement announcement.

Henry will continue SEIU's expansion efforts, she told the New York Times. One of her hopes is to expand union membership from more than 2 million workers to more than 3 million by the end of the decade. SEIU is the single largest labor representative of U.S. nursing home employees.

The newly elected president held a conference call Saturday during which she outlined some of her ideas. Henry said she would not only continue the SEIU's political involvement, but she also would look to “reinvigorate it and expand it,” reports The Politico.com. Also on Saturday, the union voted to spend an additional $4 million on seven gubernatorial races, reflecting what it calls a new commitment to expand its sphere of political influence. Henry hinted at a possible expansion into community organizing, filling part of the void left by the group ACORN. She also left open the possibility of rejoining the AFL-CIO, which SEIU defected in one of Stern's most controversial moves, according to Politico.