The Need for a Coalition of Black Trade
A free and progressive trade union movement
in the 21st century should and must reflect greater participation
of black trade unionists at every level of its decision-making process.
This is no less true in today's globalized workplace then in America’s
industrial heyday, when black workers were basically a source of
cheap labor. Therefore, as black trade unionists, we have an important
role to fulfill – helping all workers benefit from the goals achieved
by the trade union movement.
There are more than 2.5 million black
workers in organized labor (nearly half of them women) the single
largest organization of African Americans in the nation. One of
every five black workers (20%) belongs to a union. The evidence
is overwhelming that the economic status of unionized black workers
in terms of higher wages, improved working conditions and better
benefits, like pensions and health insurance represents a significant
force within the black community and in organized labor.
The trade union movement is probably
the only broad-based organization that spans the entire black community.
Yet, as trade unionists, we are part of a broad community whose
resources have never been fully or consistently organized. Consequently,
it remains our challenge, as black trade unionists, to make the
labor movement more relevant to the needs and aspirations of black
and poor workers.
The Coalition is not a black separatist
or civil rights organization. It will work within the framework
of the trade union movement to maximize the strength and influence
of black workers.
Today, more black leaders hold key positions
in the political machinery of the labor movement, thus holding the
critical balance of political power in this nation. As black trade
unionists, we adamantly believe that it is our responsibility to
constructively harness and use the expertise and power of this untapped
political resource. To that end, CBTU will continue to insist that
black union officials become full partners in the leadership and
decision-making of the American labor movement. We welcome your
The Need for CBTU