Published On: Fri, Nov 4th, 2011

Afscme Union Leader to Retire

Photo by Ove Ovremyer via Flikr

 

Longtime head of the nation’s largest public-sector union, Gerald McEntee, 76, has decided to not seek re-election next year and retire.

McEntee is one of organized labor’s most powerful leaders. He was first elected president of the 1.6-million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in 1981. McEntee has also served as the chairman of the AFL-CIO’s political committee. As chairman of the AFL-CIO, McEntee was given a big say in which candidates the labor federation endorsed, how much it spent on campaigns and how it mobilized voter outreach across the U.S.

As a major backer of the Democratic Party, the union spent $90 million on the 2010 midterm elections but failed to prevent Republicans from taking the House of Representatives, reports Wall Street Journal.

“I know as well as all of you that there are no final victories,” McEntee said in a letter to Afscme members Thursday.

Labor experts across the country have said that the loss of McEntee as a leader would be felt greatly by unions and their allies as the country heads into the 2012 election.

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