The Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters broke from the AFL-CIO, effective Monday, potentially changing the face of healthcare unionizing.
The SEIU represents 900,000 healthcare workers, including nurses and other hospital staff. The unions said that together they will have 3.2 million members and take with them $20 million in dues previously paid to the AFL-CIO.
SEIU President Andrew Stern said at a news conference that the decision was "not easy or happy," but the split represented "an enormous opportunity." Stern has championed an overhaul of the SEIU to divert spending toward organizing and merging unions around industries.