Press Advisory

A Country That Works

A Conversation with Andy Stern on his new book - In A Country That Works

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, October 4, 2006, the Center for American Progress will host Andy Stern for a discussion on his new book, In A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track.  Stern’s book challenges business, labor and policy leaders to more effectively respond to the hypercompetitive, globalize economy that has left the vast majority of Americans with significant debt, little or no money to save for retirement, and a serious lack health insurance.

Stern goes beyond attributing blame.  He lays out a simple and achievable plan for reforms that would protect Americans from the looming economic crises, including: an overhaul of the tax system; a transformation of the health care system; changes to the retirement system; and overdue innovations in education.

Please join us for a lively discussion with Andy Stern.

Featured Speaker:
Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union, CLC and author of “A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track”

Moderated by:
Melody Barnes, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Program: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Refreshments will be served at 2:30 PM
Admission is free.

Center for American Progress
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center 

Andy Stern, the author of A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track, is President of the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest and fastest-growing union in North America. He is widely recognized as the new face of the labor movement and has also emerged as one of the most powerful and provocative actors in American politics today. Elected in 1996 to succeed John Sweeney as president of SEIU, Stern made headlines when he led his union out of the AFL-CIO in July 2005 to focus on new and modern strategies to organize workers in the 21st century global economy. More recently, he challenged the status quo by calling for an end to employer-based health care in favor of a health care system that helps U.S. companies compete worldwide while still providing quality, affordable coverage to every American. Stern’s bold criticism of labor’s hidebound methods and ineffective representation of workers combined with his blistering indictments of the Bush administration’s economic policies have made him a voice for change and a force to be reckoned with. Born in West Orange, New Jersey, Stern was a student leftist in the 1960s. He earned a B.A. in education and urban planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Stern began his career as a social worker and SEIU member in 1973, eventually being elected president of his Pennsylvania local. In 1980, he was elected to the union’s executive board, and in 1984 then-president Sweeney put him in charge of its organizing efforts.

Melody Barnes is the Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress where she coordinates and helps to integrate all of the Center’s policy work, from the policy departments, fellows, and the Center’s network of outside policy experts. From December 1995 until March 2003, Ms. Barnes served as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Senator Kennedy’s chief counsel, she shaped civil rights, women’s health and reproductive rights, commercial law, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments. Ms. Barnes’ experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and serving as assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. During her tenure with the Subcommittee, she worked closely with Members of Congress and their staffs to pass the Voting Rights Improvement Act of 1992, which was signed into law. Ms. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City and is a member of both the New York State Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project, EMILY’s List, The Maya Angelou Public Charter School, and The Moriah Fund. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with honors in history.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”