CBTU Executive Council International Affairs Committee

The CBTU International Affairs Committee briefs Executive Council members on issues arising from the new global economy and a changing political order. The committee seeks to broaden CBTU members’ understanding of the corporate-dominated global economy and to encourage common actions by U.S. unions and workers’ movements in other countries that will ensure global fairness for everyone. The committee also embodies CBTU’s long-standing commitment to international justice for people of color plagued by racial oppression.

CBTU is justifiably proud of its progressive history of solidarity with human rights fighters and freedom movements here and around the world, especially in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

  • CBTU condemned the Pinochet military junta in Chile; the Abacha junta in Nigeria; and the corrupt Duvalier regime in Haiti;
  • opposed the U.S. embargo against Cuba;
  • supported Caribbean workers exploited by anti-union American monopolies;
  • fought for diplomatic recognition of liberated nations in Southern Africa and recognition of Palestinians' legitimate right to a homeland in the Middle East;
  • opposed the lending policies of multilateral creditors like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that strangle growth in poor, debt-ridden nations;
  • helped Brazilian trade unionists develop model language for anti-discrimination clauses to be used in their contract negotiations;

South Africa
Long before black freedom fighters finally uprooted white minority rule throughout Southern Africa, CBTU was relentlessly attacking the violent exploitation of black workers in that resource-rich area.

  • In 1974, CBTU was the first American labor organization to pass strong resolutions calling for an economic boycott and a fundamental change in
    U.S. policy toward Southern Africa.
  • CBTU President Bill Lucy was one of the founders of the Free South Africa Movement in 1984, which conducted the most effective grassroots anti-apartheid campaign in the U.S. with substantial participation from black workers recruited by CBTU.
  • CBTU members also were selected for the AFL-CIO delegation that participated in the first democratic elections ever held in South Africa in 1994.

Globalization – New Trade Rules
CBTU has always monitored U.S. foreign policy to ensure that African, Caribbean and Latin American nations received their fair share of American aid and trade benefits, like European allies and trading partners. Now CBTU is also actively involved in the AFL-CIO’s "Campaign for Global Fairness" – a national, grassroots mobilization to rewrite the rules of global economy to work for working people and to deny China, a gross human rights violator, permanent trade preference with the U.S. CBTU supports these objectives of the
AFL-CIO Campaign for Global Fairness:

  • We want global growth and development that works for everyone.
  • We want enforceable rules to regulate global competition in a way that values people, not just profit.
  • We want to reform the international financial system to support progressive growth.
  • We will ask Congress put a higher priority on development aid.
  • We will work for debt relief on behalf of countries committed to democratic reforms and core workers' rights.