Advancement Project Closing the Opportunity Gap

Arlene Holt Baker

Former Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO

A trade union activist and labor leader, Arlene Holt Baker was the first African American to ever serve as an officer in the AFL-CIO. She was appointed Executive Vice President in 2007 and won re-election in 2009. Originally from Fort Worth, Holt Baker started out as an organizer for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in California. She is also known for her political work, rising in the ranks of the Democratic Party of California, where she was eventually elected the state party’s First Vice Chairwoman. She left the California Democrats in 1995 to join the AFL-CIO.