Each year CBTU recognizes the outstanding contributions of black trade unionists. The following awards are among the most prestigious honors that CBTU presents to worthy members.

Nelson Jack Edwards Award
The first national award established by CBTU honored the late Nelson “Jack” Edwards, a founder of CBTU and a legendary leader in the UAW. Edwards’s labor career spanned five decades, beginning in the 1930’s during the big union drives and continuing into the early 1970’s. He served in numerous leadership positions, including the UAW’s International Executive Board. Throughout his career, Edwards advocated that black workers needed their own voice within the labor movement. Sadly, shortly after Edwards was elected CBTU’s first national treasurer, he was slain in Detroit, in November, 1974. CBTU established the prestigious Nelson “Jack” Edwards Award to honor his long and distinguished career and his unflagging commitment to empowering black workers.

Addie L. Wyatt Award
The Addie L. Wyatt Award was established in 1987 by the CBTU National Women’s Committee. It honors the Rev. Addie L. Wyatt, the first chair of the Women’s Committee and one the most revered women in the American labor movement. Long before most unions accepted women in leadership positions, Rev. Wyatt was elected to lead her local union of the Amalgamated Meatcutters Union in Chicago. By the time Rev. Wyatt retired as international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, she had inspired a generation of women to believe in their own leadership abilities and to pursue their ambitions. A spellbinding and inspirational speaker, Rev. Wyatt continues to serve as co-chair of the Women’s Committee. The award in her name is given to the CBTU Woman of the Year. The Addie L. Wyatt Award recognizes a woman who is active in CBTU, her union, her community, politics and other organizations.

CBTU Grasshopper Awards
The Grasshopper Awards are given to CBTU members in recognition of their public service or political activism in CBTU’s army of “grasshoppers.” The concept for this service award originated from a reference made by Rev. Tim MacDonald at CBTU’s 30th International Convention to the tenacity of grasshoppers who made giants fall in the Bible. In today’s climate of corporate power and political attacks on hard-won gains such as civil rights, Medicare, and low-income programs, “grasshoppers” protect the interests of the people. CBTU chapters can obtain Grasshopper Award certificates for their members from the national CBTU office. Call (202) 429-1203.