Burger, born in Levittown, Pennsylvania, and daughter of a disabled truck driver and a nurse, began her activist career in 1972 as a Welfare worker. It was there she became involved in her local union. Burger organized a walkout in efforts to create a safer working environment for the office. Burger became more active in her union, and quickly moved through the ranks of the local union. Burger became SEIU local 668's first full-time woman president before moving onto the SEIU International office in Washington, DC, to work as National Director of Field Operations, under former SEIU president John Sweeney. Burger successfully ran Sweeney's campaign for president of the AFL-CIO. She was elected Executive Vice President of SEIU, and Secretary-Treasurer in 2001.
In her tenure at SEIU, Burger has worked with President Andy Stern to create the largest and fastest growing union in North America. While union membership across the country has been continually dropping, SEIU is the only union that has continuously grown. As well, Burger and SEIU are working to create ties with unions in other parts of the world, especially Europe and Asia.
Burger and Stern called for a change in the AFL-CIO's strategies in June 2004. By the summer of 2005, 6 unions (including SEIU) withdrew their membership to the AFL-CIO, and created a new labor coalition, the Change to Win Federation. On September 27, 2005, Burger was elected Chair of the breakaway coalition. As the Chair of Change to Win, Burger became the first woman to lead an American labor coalition.
Burger is married to Earl F. Gohl and they have one daughter. Anna Burger currently lives in Washington, DC with her family.
Anna Burger to Head Breakaway Labor Group; Coalition Hopes to Reverse Setbacks and Organize More Women and Minorities
Sep 27, 2005; In 1972, the year Anna Burger started a wildcat strike of Philadelphia social workers, organized labor did not look like a...