SEIU boss Andy Stern makes retirement official

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“In life, there's a time to learn, a time lead, and then, there's a time to leave,” outgoing Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern said in his retirement message to union members released Wednesday.

News of Stern's departure leaked on Monday before the longtime SEIU leader could make his own official announcement. Stern joined the union in 1972 and has been its president since 1996. During that time, he expanded the SEIU rolls to 2.2 million members, including a significant increase in the number of unionized nursing home workers. As a result, he has been a source of irritation for the nursing home community. The SEIU is the single largest representative of healthcare workers in the country.

“There's never a perfect time for any long-term leader to depart, or for organizations to make transitions,” said Stern, 59, who has no immediate plans. “I've seen too many leaders who've stayed on too long, and I have no intention of being one of them.”