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ABLE History
Organized in January of 1985, The Alliance of Black Telecommunications Employees, Inc., is the result of a merger between the Association of Black Laboratories Employees, Inc. (ABLE), The Committee of AT&T Employees, and the Employee Focus Group (EFG) of AT&T Communications.

ABLE, the oldest of the three organizations, was formed in 1970 to address placement and promotional concerns of Black Bell Laboratories employees. One of the group's first activities was to set up a meeting between Black Laboratories employees and top Laboratory management officials for the purpose of establishing open and frank communications. This meeting was the first of many of the later dialogue committees that were formed throughout various AT&T entities for similar purposes.

Over the years, a significant improvement in the quality of work life at Bell Laboratories allowed ABLE to extend its focus to include self-help and community involvement. Significant community contributions made by ABLE include the establishment of the New Jersey affiliate of the Black United Fund (BUF), the initiation of the Tim Harvey Scholarship Fund and the founding of the Morristown and Plainfield Science Centers.

The Committee, unlike ABLE, began not as a formal organization, but as an ad hoc committee of Black managers who, with divestiture imminent, were concerned about the future success of both the corporation and Black employees. These managers came together for the first time in the fall of 1982 to discuss issues of concern to Black employees and to plan a Professional Development Conference. The conference, which was held on January 15, 1983, attracted more than 300 participants from 18 states and 18 Bell System entities and was so successful that decisions were made not only to sponsor future conferences, but also to establish a formal organization.

The first general meeting of The Committee was held on August 17, 1983, and officers were sworn in on January 19, 1984. Significant accomplishments of The Committee included the introduction of semiannual professional development conferences and the publication of NEWSLINK, a quarterly newsletter which established a nationwide communication network for AT&T's Black employees.

The EFG, which is the youngest of the three organizations, began in April of 1984 as an AT&T Communications (AT&T-C) dialogue group. The dialogue group originated in response to the development and publication of, "A Model for Excellence", a comprehensive treatise on the contributions and capabilities of Blacks inside AT&T and the Black community. By November 1984, however, it had evolved into a formal organization that was committed to developing a supportive environment within which AT&T-C Black employees could be productive and maximize their contributions to the corporation. Significant accomplishments of the EFG included the establishment of the Positive Action Task Force and the initiation of a racial awareness seminar for all AT&T employees.

In the late 1984, recognizing how similar their organizations actually were and the congruence of organizational goals, representatives from ABLE, The Committee, and the EFG met to discuss merging the three organizations into one organization. An expressed objective of this merger would be to encourage Black employees to pool their human and financial resources to enhance their professional, educational, economic, and cultural opportunities within AT&T and the Black community. In January 1985, after much discussion and planning, the three groups joined hands to become The Alliance of Black Telecommunications Employees, Inc.

The next year was spent establishing the framework, operating plans, and strategies for The Alliance. By January 1986, The Alliance was fully operational and ready for business. By the end of that year, eight chapters had been chartered. Over the coming years, The Alliance chartered a total of 50 chapters in the continental United States. Each chapter functions under the umbrella of the National Board of Directors and Regional Councils. In September 1996, The Alliance of Black Telecommunications Employees, Inc. trivested into three separate organizations to align with AT&T's corporate restructure. Three new groups were reorganized: The Alliance of Black Lucent Employees, Inc., (ABLE), The Alliance of Black Telecommunications Employees, Inc., (ABTE), and The Alliance of Black NCR Employees, Inc., (ABNE).

In September, 2000 ABLE divested again into two entities to align with Lucent's spinoff of AVAYA. The two groups became The Alliance of Black Lucent Employees, Inc., (ABLE) and The Alliance of Black Leaders of Avaya, (ABL).

The ABLE organization is served by a nationally elected Board of Directors and has three (3) operating regions: Eastern, Southern, and Central/Western. ABLE's national and local chapter programming occurs in support of six (6) strategic thrusts: professional development, community action, networking, economic development, affirmative action advocacy, and spiritual enrichment. ABLE is active in numerous civic and community affairs throughout the country. This community involvement helps to provide for increased sales of Alcatel-Lucent's products and services as well as enhancing its image as a good corporate citizen. Membership is open to all Alcatel-Lucent employees. ABLE is a non-profit organization.

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