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Mass. AFL-CIO Head Is Stepping Down

This article is more than 8 years old.

The head of the state's main labor union will not seek re-election when his term ends this fall.

Robert Haynes has been president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO for 13 years and says it's time for the next generation to take the lead.

"I've been thinking for a couple years about moving on and about doing different things and about transitioning, you know, the leadership here at the state AFL-CIO," Haynes said. "We've got to get young people, change generations here. The people that are going to be affected by all these — the pace of change — the people that are going to be affected by that, need to make the decisions around those kinds of things."

Haynes says his decision to step aside has nothing to do with recent approval of restrictions on municipal unions' power to negotiate health benefits.

Haynes says he has recommended AFL-CIO Legislative and Communications Director Tim Sullivan, who's in his early 30s, to be the next president.

Boston Firefighters Union President Ed Kelly, who's also an AFL-CIO board member, says he was surprised to get the news from Haynes.

"Bobby was a phenomenal leader for the labor movement in Massachusetts," Kelly said. "He's done an incredible job in very difficult and trying circumstances, and he's gonna be sorely missed."

The Massachusetts AFL-CIO represents about 400,000 union workers.

This program aired on May 31, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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