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National Black History Month! This week CWA Local 4340 celebrates Arlene Holt Baker!!

Arlene Holt Baker

Arlene Holt Baker was born in 1951 in Fort Worth, Texas. Her father was a laborer and her mother was a domestic worker.  She was one of 7 siblings.  Holt Baker became the 1st African American Woman to serve as Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO.

Her Union career started off by her becoming an organizer with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in the late 1980’s.  She started organizing public sector employees for the State of California which eventually led her to being hired as an International Union Staff Representative.  She then became an “Area Director” in California overseeing AFSCME’s Collective Bargaining efforts for public employee locals and leading the Union’s political operations for statewide and federal races.  In 1995, Linda Chavez -Thompson, who was elected as the Labor Federations Executive Vice President, hired Holt Baker as her Executive Assistant. 

Holt Baker was given a number of other assignments in addition to her duties as an Executive Assistant.  In 1998 she led the AFL-CIO’s successful effort to defeat California Proposition 226, which would have denied dues check-off to  public employees belonging to Unions and would have also required all Union Members in the state to annually give their assent before any portion of their dues could be used for political purposes. 

She was so successful leading this campaign, she was named Executive Assistant to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in 1999. Her primary duty as Sweeney’s assistant was Director of the AFL-CIO’s Voice@Work Campaign.  This project was designed to build community support for Union Organizing efforts.  She held this position until her appointment as Executive Vice President. 

In 2000, Holt Baker also led a coalition of Labor Unions which registered voters and mobilized supporters in Pennsylvania. Holt Baker led the same coalition in 2002 helping Ed Rendell win gubernatorial election. 
Holt-Baker’s political work for the AFL-CIO continued in 2003.  She was named President of the Working American Alliance, a 527 group established by an alliance of AFL-CIO member Unions.  Later that same year she became President of Voices For Working Families (VFWF), another 527 group which was the 14th largest fundraiser among all 527s that year. 

Sweeney named Holt Baker manager of his (successful) 2005 campaign for re-election as President of the AFL-CIO.  In 2005 and 2006 , Holt Baker led the AFL-CIO’s Hurricane Katrina Recovery Responses in Louisiana and Mississippi.  She coordinated disaster relief in the first few months after the natural disaster, and then oversaw AFL-CIO investment and building programs in the region.

In 2007 Holt Baker was unanimously Voted by the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council to fill the remainder of Chavez-Thompson’s unexpired term as Executive Vice President. Chavez-Thompson announced she would be retiring from her post On September 11, 2007. 

In this position Holt Baker became very outspoken with healthcare reform, women rights, fair trades, LGBT Community, Voting Rights, etc.  Her term expired in 2009.  Holt Baker was re-elected to the position of Executive Vice President for a full four-year term at the AFL-CIO's regularly scheduled quadrennial convention in September 2009.

In September of 2013 she stepped down after a 40 year career as a Labor Activist, although she states she is not leaving the Labor Movement until she dies.


Ohio House Telecom Dereg Bill 402

Next week a Telecom Deregulation Bill HB 402 (Revise telephone regulations) will likely be voted out of the Public Utilities Committee, and possibly voted on, at the Feb 28th full session.

This Bill will:

1) Remove service commitments on Basic Local Exchange Service (BLES).

2) Allow increases on these BLES lines, different than past rules of a $1.25 year max.

3) Includes language to make it harder to qualify for Lifeline service.

4) Removes PUCO approval for Mergers and Acquisitions of Telecoms.

 All 4 hurt our members’ employment security and Ohio consumers.

 Please ask:  Why telecom companies are getting deregulation relief freebies without promising to increase infrastructure build-out or to keep Ohio jobs?

Please call your Ohio House Rep and asked they vote NO on HB402.  

Go here to learn who your Rep is:

The main # at Statehouse is:  1-800-282-0253

Click here to see who members of the Public Utilities Committee are, this should be your first call: ttee/public-utilities

Please Call all PUCO Members, and ask them to vote NO on HB402 



CWA Local 4340 Celebrates National Black History Month- This week we recognize A Philip Randolph!

As we celebrate National Black History month, we also celebrate the diversity within our own union, CWA Local 4340.  We want to take this opportunity to reflect on past African- American Labor leaders that fought for equal rights, better working conditions, and equal pay for all. This week we recognize:

A Philip Randolph

A Philip Randolph was born April 15, 1889 in Crescent City Florida.  He moved to New York City after he graduated Valedictorian from the Cookman Institute. He began to take social sciences at the city college where his activism in local government was spurred.  He ran for two public offices in 1920 and 1922 but was unsuccessful in his attempts.  Randolph’s desire to improve working conditions and better pay; lead him to organize the elevator operators in New York City in 1917.  In 1919 he became the president of the National Brotherhood of Workers of America.  This union organized African-American shipyard and dock workers in Virginia.  Randolph went on to be elected the President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925.  The Pullman Car Company was at the time the largest employer of African Americans in the country.  This new union gave the black porters a voice, because of their race they were often underpaid and suffered poor working conditions.  They would continue to fight Pullman for equal pay and better working conditions until President Roosevelt granted the porters rights under federal law in 1934.  Pullman finally started negotiating with the BCSP in 1935 and the BCSP won their first contract in 1937.  That contract gave the porters over $2000.00 in pay increases, better working conditions and the guarantee of overtime pay.  Randolph continued his union activism and was later elected as the AFL-CIO Vice President in 1955.

Randolph went on to help Martin Luther King further the Civil Rights movement throughout the 1960’s.  A Philip Randolph received the following awards for his efforts for equality for all.

1942 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Spingarn Medal.

1964 President Johnson presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1967  He was awarded the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award.

1970 Named Humanist of the year

2014 Inducted into the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame

Randolph passed away in 1979 in New York.


CWA Local 4340 Bargaining Unit Meetings for February 2018!

CWA Local 4340 Officers and Directors will be holding Bargaining Unit Meetings during for the month of February.

You can visit our Calendar of Events to check when you Group will be Meeting!



Important Benefit Update – Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)

Attention CWA 4340 Members @ AT$T:

Effective Jan 23, 2018, your AT&T Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) was transferred to Your Spending AccountTM (YSA) from WageWorks. You can now view your AT&T HRA balance, conduct transactions, and submit claims for reimbursement. Simply go to the AT&T Benefits Center and then click on Reimbursement Accounts.

Submitting Claims

2017 incurred expenses: You may submit any remaining 2017 expenses that were not previously submitted to WageWorks by Dec. 31, 2017, to YSA through the AT&T Benefits Center, or by using the Reimburse Me mobile app. Be sure to submit any required receipts or documentation.

2018 incurred expenses: If you participate in AT&T medical, dental, vision or prescription drug programs, your claims will be submitted for you and processed automatically. No action is required of you. Starting the week of Jan. 22, your 2018 claims from the following participating AT&T administrators will automatically be sent to your account for processing. This process applies to company-sponsored plans only*, and includes the following AT&T administrators:

  • UnitedHealthcare (Medical or CarePlus)
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Medical)
  • CVS Caremark (Prescription Drug)
  • Beacon Health (Employee Assistance Program and Mental Health/Substance Abuse)
  • Cigna (Dental)
  • EyeMed (Vision)
*Automatic claims reimbursement does not apply to fully insured health care such as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMOs).

If you’re enrolled in a non-participating AT&T administrator, such as an HMO, and you have out-of-pocket health care expenses, you’ll need to manually submit your 2018 health care claims to YSA. You can submit a claim at the AT&T Benefits Center website or by using the Reimburse Me app. Be sure to provide any required receipts or documentation.

Direct Deposit

If you want to have your reimbursements automatically deposited into your checking or savings account, you must sign up for direct deposit, if you have not already done so. For privacy and security purposes, your banking information was not included in the transition. Log on to the AT&T Benefits Center website, and click the Direct Deposit Message or click Reimbursement Accounts on the top navigation and then select Update Direct Deposit under Other Resources. If you do not sign up for direct deposit, reimbursement checks will be mailed to your home address on file.

For More Information
If you have questions, contact the AT&T Benefits Center at 877-722-0020 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Central time, Monday through Friday.


Ohio HB 402 & Microcell Legislation

This week, The Ohio Telecom Association and AT&T were looking for support on a Microcell Bill that would drop soon. The Bill is a rehash of the Telecom Microcell Bill previously passed in, what some believe, an illegal Bill that violated Ohio’s single subject law. Historically, Bills in Ohio have been One Bill-One Subject.



The 2017 Microcell Legislation was packaged with Puppy Mill and Anti-Minimum Wage Bills and passed by the Ohio House and Senate. CWA opposed the Bill at that time; and it was passed on, pretty much, a party line vote. Dozens of cities and municipalities filed suit against Ohio for passing this bill as a violation of Single Subject and Home Rule.  


It now appears that, instead of fighting this in court for years, the State has negotiated with the major city mayors to the point they now support a new version of the Bill.  This Bill has not been assigned a number yet but, according to sources, will be dropped in the Government Accountability Committee soon.


Another piece of Legislation, HB 402, which limits Service Standards on basic telco service, limits PUCO authority over mergers and buy-outs, changes Lifeline rules, and allows higher rate increases on these lines (see attached HB402-I), had its first hearing on Jan 16.     


We need you to call your House Reps and Senators at 1-800-282-0253 and advise them that the Communications Workers of America opposes HB 402 because it hurts customer service, hurts those on lifeline, and hurts our members' job security.


We also oppose any Microcell Legislation because, to date, our members have not been assured this new Microcell work. Please encourage the Representatives to make the Telecoms accountable in guaranteeing all new work derived is assured to our members.