Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

From KeyWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Template:TOCnestleft The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists


The National Negro Labor Council, (1950-56) was a Communist Party USA front for black workers and labor officials. It was a direct inspiration for the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.[1]

Communist influence

In the early 1970s, Communist Party USA aligned union members began to find their voice through new coalitions such as the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists , the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement , and the National Coordinating Committee for Trade Unionists for Action and Democracy. TUAD leaders — Fred Gaboury, Rayfield Mooty, Debbie Albano and Adelaide Bean, along with Labor Today editors Jim Williams and Scott Marshall, helped bring these coalitions together. These labor coalitions, like CLUW, reflected rising communist influence in the labor movement.[2]



The stated mission of the Union is:[3]

"To fulfill the dream of those Black trade unionists, both living and deceased, who throughout this century have courageously and unremittingly struggled to build a national movement that would bring all our strengths and varied talents to bear in the unending effort to achieve economic, political and social justice for every American."


In September of 1972, more than 1,200 black union officials and rank and file members, representing thirty-seven different international and national unions, met in Chicago for two days to discuss the role of black trade unionists in the labor movement. Five black labor leaders, alarmed that the AFL-CIO Executive Council had taken a "neutral" position in the 1972 presidential election between incumbent Richard Nixon and challenger George McGovern, called this founding conference of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. They believed AFL-CIO President George Meany had ignored the voice of black trade unionists. Neutrality, they believed, would contribute to the re-election of Nixon. The call they issued for the conference noted:

"We are concerned that the re-election of Richard Nixon will almost certainly result in four more years of favored treatment for the rich and powerful; continued unemployment; frozen wages; high prices; appoint- meant of additional members of the U.S. Supreme Court who are conservative and insensitive to the rights of workers, minorities, and the poor; more repression and restriction of civil liberties; and the reversal or total neglect of civil rights."

The initial meeting, which took place September 23-24, 1972, at the LaSalle Hotel, constituted the largest single gathering of Black unionists in the history of the American labor movement. It was a bold, empowering action. While the impetus for the Chicago conference was the presidential campaign, the most significant development was the establishment of a permanent organization, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists[4].

The delegates made it clear that black workers were ready to share in the power of the labor movement at every level of its policy-making process. CBTU would be a progressive forum for black workers to bring their special issues within unions as well as act as a bridge between organized labor and the black community.

Original CBTU founders

The original 1972 founders of CBTU were[5];

Original CBTU leaders

The original 1972 leaders of CBTU were[6];

CBTU executive committee

As of 2009 the CBTU executive committee consisted of;[7]

CBTU Trustees

As of 2009 the CBTU Trustees were;[8]

CBTU regional representatives

As of 2009 the CBTU regional representatives were[9];

At Large members

CBTU staff

As of 2009 the CBTU staff were[10];

DSA supporters

UntitledSepoct 95.jpg

37th International Convention

From May 22-25, 2008, the CBTU held their 37th International Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.[11]

May 22 Opening Session

The following is a list of the speakers from the May 22 opening session:[12]

There was also a C.A.R.A.T. Team Presentation during the opening session.

National Women's Conference

The following is a list of the speakers from the National Women's Conference:[13]

Town Hall Meeting

The following is a list of the speakers from the Town Hall meeting:[14]


May 24 Opening Session

The following is a list of the speakers from the May 22 opening session:[15]

Sunday Worship

The following led the May 25 Sunday worship:[16]

Awards Banquet

The following is a list of the speakers from the awards banquet:[17]


42nd Annual Convention

Four Cubans being held in U.S. prisons should be released, according to a resolution passed by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists at their 42nd Annual Convention, held in Orlando, Fla., in May 2013. Labor should take a stand on this question because labor has been an advocate for freedom and justice in this country and around the world, said Lew Moye, second vice president of CBTU's Executive Council.

The four Cubans mentioned in the resolution have been incarcerated in U.S. high security prisons as a result of their activities in monitoring anti-Cuba terrorist groups based in Florida. They have been known as the Cuban Five.

Though they are little known to the American public, an international campaign for their release has won support from around the world, including a long list of Nobel Prize winners. "Cuba is no threat to U.S. security whatsoever," said Moye. "Labor needs to be standing on the right side of justice."

The conference, which gathered 1,000 trade unionists, included among its business a comprehensive resolution on U.S. policy toward Cuba. That resolution called for repeal of the economic and political embargo against Cuba and opening of free travel to that country by Americans. The U.S. government currently prohibits its citizens from travelling to Cuba without government-issued licenses.

Moye, who is also president of the St. Louis Chapter of the CBTU, said that around the world "Cuba is viewed as a country that strives to take care of its people, environmentally and healthwise, and also strives to help people in other countries." He added, "We feel that it's time for the attacks on Cuba to end and for it to be treated as an equal partner."

"Cuba should be totally removed from the terrorist list," Harold Rogers, the resolution's author, told peoplesworld. Rogers recalled that the African National Congress and its leader Nelson Mandela were also on the same list until well after Mandela's election as president of South Africa in 1994.

Rogers, national director of international affairs for the CBTU , said the American public must become more educated on Cuba and lobby Congress to repeal all laws embargoing trade and restricting travel. "We see only negative information on Cuba," Rogers stated, " But in reality this small island presents absolutely no military or economic threat."

The political difficulty, according to Rogers, is that the anti-Cuba lobby, based in Miami, is strong in D.C. That lobby leverages the fact that Florida, with 29 electoral votes, is key to any presidential candidate's success, and has had a large anti-communist Cuban exile community, to block changes in current policy.

Rogers says that the CBTU's resolution will be forwarded to the upcoming AFL-CIO convention through those who are leaders in both bodies.

"We will also use this resolution as a basis for educational work and mobilization in our local chapters," added Rogers.[18]