Burger Leaving SEIU

Posted August 11, 2010 at 1:11pm

Updated: 3:03 p.m.

Service Employees International Union Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger is retiring, the group announced Wednesday.

“From my days as a rank and file activist to my service as an elected officer, I have had the amazing opportunity to watch hundreds of thousands of hardworking women and men learn, grow, build and lead though our union,” Burger, 59, said in a statement.

Burger’s retirement comes three months after Mary Kay Henry succeeded Andy Stern as SEIU president. Burger, too, had attempted to replace her mentor Stern at the helm of the union, but she unexpectedly dropped out two weeks before the May 8 election.

In an interview, Henry told Roll Call after the election that she would conduct a monthlong review of her top deputies, including Burger.

“She and I have begun discussions and are committed to reaching an agreement by the end of May. … Every officer is now in a review process about what role they will assume,” Henry told Roll Call in a story published May 11. “It is the prerogative of the president to reassign responsibilities.”

Burger’s next step is unclear, although an organized labor official confirmed that an announcement is forthcoming. In a statement, the union said she will continue as an SEIU consultant and on President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, a spot that could set her up for an even bigger role in the White House.

A 38-year veteran of the labor movement, Burger has not registered to lobby since 2007 and is a key ally of Stern, who endorsed her over Henry in last spring’s SEIU election. According to a Jan. 21, 2009, executive order signed by Obama, influence peddlers may not have been registered to lobby for two years before they can be considered for an administration post.

Until he quit earlier this year, Stern was Obama’s No. 1 outside adviser from organized labor and met frequently with administration officials, White House visitor logs show. Senate lobbying records also show that Stern has not been a registered lobbyist since Jan. 1, 2008.