Anna Burger: Unions Owe Middle Class Americans a Level Playing Field

The SEIU secretary-treasurer says unions must help level the playing field.

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Anna Burger worked her way up from a caseworker in Pennsylvania, helping one person at a time, to the most powerful woman in the labor movement, as secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, the country's biggest union. She's also a member of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

With workers facing record-high unemployment and foreclosures, Burger says that unions must help level the playing field so that the middle class still has a chance at the American dream, so they can have a retirement they can count on, give their kids a better life, "and maybe even have their own home."

"We all have a responsibility to everyone," Burger says. "We need to come to the table to do what's best for everyone in society. Wall Street has been too focused on what's good for a small group of elites, and not on what's best for everyone."

U.S. News & World Report reporter Jessica Rettig talked with Burger on how union leadership can help make the middle class strong again.

Here's Anna Burger on leadership in the workplace:

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[Click here to listen to the interview with Burger.]

The U.S. News podcast series, Leadership for the Next Decade, explores the ideas, innovations, and solutions that will inspire America for the future. Moderated by U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly, the podcasts feature exclusive interviews with leaders across the spectrum, from education, business, art, science, and medicine to government, public service, and philanthropy.