Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

CBTU website

Since the earliest days of this nation when democracy was built on racial exploitation, black workers have risked their lives to protect and empower their communities through agitation, collective action and faith. The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists proudly carries that tradition into the 21st century.

CBTU is not a black separatist or civil rights organization. It is the fiercely independent voice of black workers within the trade union movement, challenging organized labor to be more relevant to the needs and aspirations of Black and poor workers. 

At the same time, CBTU is recognized as a potent economic and political force within the African American community. One of every five black workers (20%) belongs to a union, and black union members earn 40 percent more than do non-union black workers. In the political arena, CBTU has leveraged the vast resources of unions to mobilize black voters to influence elections and public policy at every level of government. 

And long before globalization caught the attention of America's working families, CBTU was challenging the gaping disparity of wealth, power and living standards throughout the world, especially in African and Caribbean countries. CBTU also was the first American labor organization to actively oppose white minority rule in Southern Africa. CBTU has been the catalyst for actions against other human rights violators as well.

The basic objectives of the CBTU are reflected in its activities and projects:

•Improve economic development and employment opportunities for black workers.

•Work within the framework of the trade union movement to provide a voice and vehicle for greater black and minority participation.

•Increase union involvement in voter registration, voter education and voter turnout projects.

•Organize unorganized workers.

•Actively support civil rights and civic groups working to improve living and working conditions in the black community.

•Increase effective political alliances between labor, churches and the general community.

CBTU will continue to support job training initiatives and programs aimed at reducing the black youth unemployment rate, which consistently hovers around 50%. Recognizing the correlation between youth unemployment and education, CBTU chapters continue their support for the public school systems and oppose reduced funding for educational projects and programs, particularly those involving inner city schools.

CBTU will continue to work for protection of consumers from escalating price increase for the four necessities of life: food, energy, housing and medical care, the areas where inflation hits hardest. We oppose cutbacks in social programs, health, welfare, aid to the cities and support services for the disadvantaged until they are replaced with full employment and other necessary safety nets.

We pledge to work in coalition with organized labor and other allies whose mission is consistent with these objectives.