Arlene Holt Baker

Arlene Holt Baker

EVP Emeritus, AFL-CIO

Arlene Holt Baker’s experience as a union and grassroots organizer spans nearly forty years.   From the late 70’s to the mid 90’s she worked as a union organizer and later International Union Area Director in California for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees national union. In her organizing and management role with the union she helped organize city, state, and university workers.  While in California she was an activist with the Democratic Party and served as Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party from 1993 until 1996.

In 1995 Holt Baker came to the AFL-CIO as Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President, Linda Chavez-Thompson and later became Assistant to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.   In her role at the AFL-CIO she has coordinated get out the vote campaigns, including the defeat of the 1998 anti-worker initiative, California Proposition 226.  In 2000, she oversaw the AFL-CIO’s “Count Every Vote” campaign in Florida.   She was the first coordinator of the AFL-CIO Voice@ Work Campaign, a campaign to make it easier for workers to form and join unions. 

From September 04 until January 06 Arlene Holt Baker served as President of the non-partisan voter education and mobilization organization, Voices for Working Families.

On September 21, 2006 Arlene Holt Baker was elected by the AFL-CIO Executive Council to serve out the unexpired term of Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson and in 2009 she was elected by the AFL-CIO Convention to serve as Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO becoming the first African American women to be elected by the AFL-CIO Convention to serve as one of the top three officers.  She served in this capacity with the new leadership team of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO and Liz Shuler, Secretary Treasurer.

As Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO Arlene Holt Baker worked closely with community allies, immigrant rights groups, progressive partners, and AFL-CIO constituency groups to promote a shared prosperity for all agenda.  She has used her position and her voice to advocate for and oversee mobilization efforts in the areas of immigrant rights, voting rights, marriage equality, public quality education and the rights of workers to form and join unions.

On September 11. 2013 Arlene Holt Baker retired from her position as AFL-CIO Executive Vice President.  She continues to serve on a several boards that focus on reducing poverty, advancing comprehensive immigration reform and protecting voting rights; these include The Advancement Project and the Center for Community Change.

Arlene Holt Baker is married to Willie L. Baker, Jr., Retired Vice President, UFCW.