St. Louis, Mo. – In an historic election, Claude Cummings Jr. was elected as president of the Communications Workers of America by delegates to the union’s 79th convention and Ameenah Salaam was elected secretary-treasurer. Cummings is the first Black man elected as CWA president. Salaam, who was elected by acclamation, is the first Black woman to serve as secretary-treasurer.
Cummings succeeds Chris Shelton who stepped down after serving as president for eight years and spending 55 years mobilizing, representing and organizing with CWA.
Since 2011, Cummings has served as vice president of CWA District 6, representing more than 45,000 members in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
As a Houston native, Cummings started his union career working for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (now AT&T) in 1973 and worked as a frame attendant and communications technician, maintaining systems for NASA, among other corporate customers. Prior to his election as District 6 vice president, he was president of CWA Local 6222 representing more than 8,000 members, having served previously in other leadership positions in the local. Cummings was the first Black man elected to all of these positions.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Salaam started her union career working for Diamond State Telephone in 1991 as a customer service representative. She was elected as a CWA Local 13100 steward and served as vice president of the local until September 1997 when she joined the CWA national staff. As an assistant to outgoing CWA President Chris Shelton, she has played critical leading roles in organizing, bargaining and mobilization campaigns, supporting staff and pushing CWA’s core mission forward with effective strategic planning and fiscal responsibility.