[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/art.stern.gi.jpg caption="Stern, a top Obama ally, is stepping down from his post as head of the SEIU, according to reports."] (CNN) - Andy Stern, the head of one of the most powerful labor unions and a top ally of President Obama, is resigning his post, according to a report from the Washington Post.
Stern has been at the helm of the 2.2 million-member Service Employee International Union since 1996 and initiated the then-controversial move to split with the AFL-CIO in 2004. He went on to found the Change to Win labor federation in 2005 - a federation of six major unions which heavily supported President Obama's election bid.
A spokeswoman for the SEIU would not confirm or deny the reports, but said Stern will
address these rumors at the close of the SEIU Executive Committee meeting this week."
SEIU also played a key role in the health care debate over the last fall, spending millions of dollars promoting the Democrats' plan on the airwaves and pressuring House Democrats in swing states to support the legislation.