Labor Union

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

This is a logo for Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. (link)
Website:

www.cbtu.org/about.html

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-1128179

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $758,309
Expenses: $748,657
Assets: $386,383

Type:

Labor Activism

Founded:

1972

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) advocates for the interests of Black and other ethnic minority union members within the larger labor movement, and works to bring attention to national and international issues relating to labor and race. [1]

Background and History

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists was founded in September 1972, when a group of Black union members and officials organized a conference in Chicago to develop strategies for increasing their influence within the labor movement. In particular, the coalition was concerned about the AFL-CIO’s decision not to endorse a presidential candidate that year; the AFL-CIO leadership had opposed the campaign of left-wing Democrat George McGovern. The CBTU opposed the re-election of President Richard Nixon because it would likely impede left-progressive causes for several more years. The first steering committee of the CBTU included high-ranking members of some of the most influential labor unions in the United States: William Lucy, who was the international secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the country’s largest union for non-education government employees; Nelson Edwards, vice president of the United Auto Workers, which primarily represents automobile industry employees and became known for aggressive use of sit-ins and strikes starting in the 1930s and 1940s; and Charles A. Hayes, the vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, one of the country’s largest labor unions for service and retail sector employees. [2]

Since its founding, the CBTU has increased its influence on the labor movement. It claims credit for a 1980 labor march that inspired the AFL-CIO to announce a larger, more widely attended Solidarity Day March in 1981. [3] In 1995, the coalition successfully pressured the AFL-CIO to enlarge its executive council to create new openings for women and members of racial minority groups in federation leadership. [4]

Political Stances

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists claims that democracy in the United States was built on “racial exploitation.” The coalition does not consider itself to be a civil rights organization, instead emphasizing its self-described role as a “fiercely independent voice” for black union members within the labor movement. At the same time, the CBTU denies being a black separatist group. The coalition does not solely focus on domestic labor issues, and has previously been involved in labor and race issues in Africa and the Caribbean. [5]

In 2003, the CBTU opposed the George W. Bush administration’s position against affirmative action. Lucy accused Bush of supporting “a revival of antebellum racism on the Potomac” for supporting a white student who sued to stop the use of racial preferences in admissions at the University of Michigan. [6] The Supreme Court upheld the university’s race-preferential policies as constitutional, but said a “points” system that gave preference to non-white student candidates was unconstitutional. Bush later praised the Court for its decision. [7]

In its statement against Bush’s affirmative action stance, the CBTU also opposed Bush’s nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to a federal appeals court position despite Pickering’s alleged “racist views and behavior.” [8] Pickering, whose nomination was held up by Senate Democrats for years, was defended by conservatives who argued that one of his most controversial decisions—giving a relatively light sentence to a 20-year old man who burned a cross on an interracial couple’s yard in 1994—was consistent with both his judicial philosophy of giving young offenders easier sentences, and Pickering’s belief that the ringleader of the cross-burning group had received a light sentence through plea-bargains. [9]

The organization has published material attacking Black conservatives, including a 2020 column by international labor leader Bill Fletcher on its Facebook page. In that post, Fletcher criticized U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for not doing “the right thing” once on the Court, and he compared Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) to rich Jews who supposedly did not oppose the Nazi regime in Germany. [10]

The CBTU supports increasing the political power of the District of Columbia, claiming that residents of Washington, D.C. lack sufficient “self-determination” because they do not have voting representation in Congress. [11]

References

  1. “About CBTU.” Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Accessed January 23, 2022. https://www.cbtu.org/about.html ^
  2. “History.” Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Accessed January 23, 2022. https://www.cbtu.org/history.html ^
  3. Roberta Wood. “CBTU stays in the forefront.” People’s World. May 15, 2003. Accessed January 24, 2022. https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/cbtu-stays-in-the-forefront/ ^
  4. “History.” Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Accessed January 23, 2022. https://www.cbtu.org/history.html ^
  5. “About CBTU.” Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Accessed January 23, 2022. https://www.cbtu.org/about.html ^
  6. “Nation’s largest black labor organization condemns President Bush’s ‘undeclared domestic war on diversity.’” CBTU. 2003. Accessed January 24, 2022. www.cbtu.org/2003website/takingastand/affirmativeaction.html ^
  7. Suzanne Malveaux, “Bush praises court for recognizing ‘value of diversity.’” CNN. June 23, 2003. Accessed January 24, 2022. http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/06/23/wh.reax/ ^
  8. “Nation’s largest black labor organization condemns President Bush’s ‘undeclared domestic war on diversity.’” CBTU. 2003. Accessed January 24, 2022. www.cbtu.org/2003website/takingastand/affirmativeaction.html ^
  9. Harry Stein. “Charles Pickering gets the last word.” City Journal. June 10, 2007. Accessed January 24, 2022. https://www.city-journal.org/html/charles-pickering-gets-last-word-10258.htmlnal.org) ^
  10. Bill Fletcher. “What do you say to a black Trump supporter?” Facebook. August 31, 2020. Accessed January 24, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/CBTU72/posts/3759048017447622 ^
  11. “History.” Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Accessed January 23, 2022. https://www.cbtu.org/history.html ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Robert Richardson
    Executive Council Member
  2. John Bland
    Chapter President
  3. Nat Lacour
    Former Board Member
  4. Glynda Linton
    Former Executive Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1978

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $758,309 $748,657 $386,383 $4,409 N $379,623 $340,554 $0 $0 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,272,521 $1,126,694 $310,138 $0 N $891,800 $357,761 $0 $0 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $889,113 $860,120 $211,082 $46,771 N $524,596 $356,964 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,118,062 $1,032,433 $238,435 $103,117 N $742,908 $372,728 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $715,703 $712,016 $177,393 $127,704 N $353,480 $349,351 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $811,720 $732,955 $171,954 $125,952 N $436,261 $334,625 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $636,043 $498,240 $93,704 $137,000 N $333,995 $302,048 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $566,605 $514,685 $46,101 $227,200 N $308,927 $257,678 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $589,707 $761,954 $8,981 $242,000 N $253,045 $336,662 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

    P.O. Box 66268
    WASHINGTON, DC