Claude Cummings Jr. was elected president of the Communications Workers of America by delegates to the union’s 79th convention on July 10, 2023. Prior to his election as president, Cummings served as an at-large member of the CWA’s Executive Board, then as Vice President of CWA District 6, representing workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. He also led the Human Rights Department for the union.
Cummings began work at 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 to 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, including Vice President. Cummings was the first Black man elected to all of these positions. As District 6 Vice President Cummings led negotiations for CWA Bargaining committees across the District which have led to wage increases, better medical benefits, signing bonuses, job security and additional jobs for the bargaining unit members. He currently serves as Vice President of the CWA Minority Caucus which ensures the voices of minority groups within CWA are heard.
He serves as 1st Vice President of the NAACP Houston Chapter, 2nd Vice President Texas State NAACP Conference, Executive Board Member of the National NAACP Labor Committee, Texas AFL-CIO Executive Board Member, Push Democracy Forward Executive Board Member (a faith-based non-partisan organization that focuses on protecting our Democracy), while also serving as President of the Harris County Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Trustee for the National Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, At large member of A. Phillip Randolph Institute Executive Board, Member of Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, Harris County Democratic Party member, Texas Progressive Executive Council member of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The Rainbow Coalition, and National Action Network.
A leading voice in local and state politics, Cummings worked for passage of a state law to enable AT&T to provide video services to customers, which led to the hiring of thousands of new unionized technicians across the country to install the new video service. He also served as a delegate to past Democratic National Conventions. He is a longtime community activist, supporting and directing civil rights efforts. During his career, he has been a strong advocate for jobs with livable wages in this country, in 2016 addressing the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington D.C. urging them to vote against trade bills that move jobs out of this country adversely affecting communities and Labor Unions. He often meets with Civil Rights Leaders to address the need for Labor and the Civil Rights Movement to work together to encourage Congress to pass Pro Labor Legislation that will build the middle class in this country. He hosts a weekly radio show “Power To The People” that addresses labor and political, and social issues around the country, and a monthly radio show with the NAACP that addresses labor and civil rights issues.
Over the past 11 years, he has worked with other organizations to organize robust and innovative GOTV programs in order to elect worker-friendly candidates in CWA District 6 and other states. His dedication has led him to work with Rev. William Barber and the Poor People's Campaign and with great pride represented CWA at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, speaking at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
He is a proud supporter of World Youth Organization, Sickle Cell Association of Houston, Helping Hands to the Community, The Sisters Network, Communities Together, Acres of Angels, SHAPE Community Center, Faces of Our Children, Kashmere Former Athletes Association, The Black Heritage Society, Harris County Democratic Women, Black Women’s PAC, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, serving for many years as Chairman of the Board of Faith Revitalization, Inc., working tirelessly with any organization to help the community in times of need. He has received awards of recognition from many of these organizations.
He is a 1970 graduate of Kashmere High School, where he was Senior Class President, graduating with honors. Following graduation he attended Tuskegee Institute. He serves as Chairman of the non-profit organization He Heard My Cry Ministries, Inc. and Chairman of Deacons at He Heard My Cry Christian Fellowship Church. He is a member and manager of the National Recording Artist and Award Winning Gospel Group Endurance of Houston.
Cummings is married to Dr. Ruth Cummings; they have three children: Kenyetta, Katrina, Claude III, and eight grandchildren: Laura, Ale`ycia, Yuri, Deiondre, Brianna, Jillian, Claire, and Laila along with great-grandchildren, Shai and Milah.