Illegitimate Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the United States Supreme Court

Statement of CBTU President Terrence L. Melvin on CBTU’s Opposition to the Illegitimate Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the United States Supreme Court

July 10, 2018

President Melvin has issued the following statement in response to the announcement from the White House of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court:

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court moves the highest court in the land closer to officially becoming an arm of the Republican Party of Trump and an open adversary of working families, communities of color, women, the LGBTQ community and immigrants. An extremist president and an extremist party have embraced an extremist for the bench, a jurist whose record on reproductive rights and worker rights, education and affirmative action, consumer and environmental protections, voting rights and immigration protections cast an ominous cloud over the preservation of hard-earned gains that have enriched our democracy.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would further weaponize the Supreme Court against the American people and embolden Trump’s authoritarian appetite to abuse power. Judge Kavanaugh has been described as “an unrelenting and unapologetic defender of presidential power.” Consequently, one has to question whether a besieged president choose him to be, perhaps, a deciding vote if he (Trump) is brought before the court as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Quite simply, Judge Brett Cavanaugh is the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time.

His nomination, like that of Neil Gorsuch – Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee – is deeply tainted by the disgraceful blockade thrown up by Senate Republicans to deny President Barack Obama his rightful opportunity to make a court pick in his final year. The 2.1 million black trade unionists that CBTU is the voice for have not forgotten nor will they give Trump’s illegitimate nominee a pass.

We call on the Senate to reject Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, especially if he refuses to unequivocally commit to recuse himself on any case that comes before the high court that involves the 45th President of the United States and his finances or dealings with Russia.

CBTU will join with our allies across the country to wage a full-throttle confirmation fight. Not because we fear the outcome, but because we would lose our soul – and America’s – if we were to concede where our ancestors petitioned for justice so many times.

Follow CBTU on Facebook and Twitter @CBTU72




Supreme Court Rules Against Workers

CBTU President Statement on the Janus v. AFSCME Decision

Statement by Rev. Terry Melvin

President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

 

Today, June 27, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to destroy workers’ voice and empower corporations with their ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case. They have sided with big business and made a decision that infringes on our First Amendment Right to freely organize and speak up. Today America took another step backwards to a time when working men and women had no voice on the job, a time when it was ok to discriminate against people of color, women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ, a time when big business could pollute our waters and land with no repercussion. Today we stepped backwards, but looking forward the path is clear, we must organize, we must fight, and we must unite.

 

The right of workers to organize into unions has been the fundamental catalyst to our Labor Laws, the weekend, child labor laws, and the rise of the middle class. Workers in unions have been able to take on billionaires and multinational corporations. We as working people have used our collective power to make positive change in this country and this Supreme Court has made a decision to attempt to strip us of this power. This will not and cannot stand. This is just one of multiple assaults against us, but like the attacks before, it will also fail, because the people united can never be defeated.

 

Humans have 3 natural responses to danger. We freeze, we flee, or we fight. In the face of this attack we don’t have the luxury to flee or freeze. We must fight, we must fight like never before. We must fight like our forefathers who built our unions, like our forefathers who demanded freedom from slavery and discrimination, like our forefathers who demanded access to the ballot box. We must fight to preserve the American Dream that all Americans, not just a select few, can prosper and make tomorrow better than today. This is just a ruling on paper that can be changed by collective action. There was once a document that said Blacks were 3/5 of a man. We changed that rule and we will change this as well. Not through lobbying, not through begging, but by fighting back. By collectively joining together all sectors of this movement, by all workers of this country coming together, by the will of people demanding justice in the face of inequity.

 

This Supreme Court and this Government do not have the best interest at heart of all Americans. They are institutions currently run by elites who want to exploit and destroy the dreams and hopes of all working men and women. We as a people have never allowed injustice to stand. We will never allow our voices to be silenced. This is a blow to working people, but it is not our death. Rather it is our call to arms. Rise up brothers and sisters and fix the system that is rigged against us,




No Privatization of the Postal Service

CBTU President Statement on the Government Proposal to Restructure the Postal Service


Statement of Rev. Terry Melvin

President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Today, June 21, 2018, the White House Office of Management and Budget released a horrible plan entitled: Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century. Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations. Which simply means a plan to cut or privatize services that benefit the non-wealthy. This plan is dangerous as a whole, but specifically, the attack on the Postal Service is one of the most frightening and backwards attempts purely to screw over the average working person. At a pivotal moment when Postal Banking could provide millions of people relief from PayDay loans, Pawn Brokers, and other illicit financial institutions that are not banks, this government is seeking to dismantle it with one of the weakest arguments ever proposed. This is just an attempt to break good paying jobs, enrich another billionaire with a private contract, and force people who don’t have bank accounts to continue to have their money stolen every time they try and put their hands on it.

The Postal Service does not function on tax dollars. Per the Postal Services own website: The Postal Service receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. So this costs us nothing tax payers nothing, but ensures our brothers and sisters have good paying jobs. One of the only government institutions that funds itself and you want to sell it off? How does that even make sense. It costs the government no tax dollars and yet this White House claims it’s a financial burden. The logic is beyond flawed, it is shameless and blatant.

Post Offices have the capacity to operate as financial institutions. This is vital in areas where big banks stay away, turn away our people, or make so our people don’t trust them enough to use them. In their place ATMs, Check Chasing places, Pawn Shops, PayDay Loans, and other high fee chop shops have popped up and are charging exorbitant rates just so people can get their hands on their money. Post Offices can do this, and before we allowed banking monopolies to take over, served as banks. Postal Banking will help our people and our communities, but this White House wants to privatize it and turn it over to the very loan sharks and capitalist vultures we’re trying to get away from.

The final stab of hypocrisy comes in the preface to the piece. It states: Like many European nations, the United States could privatize its postal operator while maintaining strong regulatory oversight to ensure fair competition and reasonable prices for customers. How ironic that this president wants to use the European version of postal service, but mocks their healthcare, education, pension plan, maternity leave, union rights, world diplomacy, and human rights. This administration stands at a podium and denounces its European allies, refuses to support the G7, leaves the UN Human Rights Council, but wants their postal service? This is when they turn to Europe?

Like many things this White House produces this plan is flawed, vindictive to working people, and just grand hypocrisy. We cannot allow this to occur on our watch. We have the power to ensure bad policies do not get implemented. Speak up, call your legislators, talk to your postal workers and let them know you support them. We cannot and will not let a corrupt government sell our jobs away to the lowest bidder.  




CBTU 2018 Elected Officials




Send Them Home!

Black Trade Unionists Call for Massive Black Turnout in Midterm Elections to Remove Trump Enablers; Also, Warn Democrats Not to Disrespect Black Voters and Candidates

Orlando, FL The deep, visceral political anger in the African American community that has grown each day of the Trump presidency found its voice at the 47th International Convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists held in Orlando, Florida, May 23-28, 2018. In his keynote report to 800 delegates, CBTU President Terrence L. Melvin, said, “Donald Trump is showing us just how deeply rooted racism and white supremacy are in America. It has become exhausting and traumatizing and more lethal for communities of color to navigate the random hate, meanness and insecurity of whiteness. In fact, insecure whiteness has become the number one health hazard for black folks.” Melvin, who was unanimously re-elected to his third term as CBTU president, criticized the massive Trump tax cut and his attempt to slash social safety net programs. “45 and his posse of enablers are hostile to unions, teachers and public education, immigrants, the poor and advocates for a sustainable environment for all.” Melvin, who is also secretary-treasurer of the powerful New York State AFL-CIO, said, “On November 6th, we’ve got to go after every Trump enabler – at EVERY level of government – from Congress to statehouses to local offices.” To a thunderous standing ovation, he declared, “Our message to voters is simple: SEND THEM HOME!
  • If they cut safety net programs, SEND THEM HOME
  • If they oppose living wages, SEND THEM HOME
  • If they support cops who don’t respect Black Lives, SEND THEM HOME
  • If they underfund our schools and criminalize our children, SEND THEM HOME!
  • If they hurt immigrant families and ignore environmental racism, SEND THEM HOME!
  • If they won’t protect our voting rights, SEND THEM HOME!
  • If they take Ben Carson seriously, SEND THEM HOME.”
But Melvin also warned the Democratic Party apparatus not to “sleep on” the black vote in the midterm elections. He pointed to the winning margin that black voters provided white candidates in key elections last year in Alabama and Virginia, and the insurgent victory in Georgia of Stacey Abrams, who could become the first African American female governor in the nation. But Melvin said he’s disappointed by the inclination of Democratic Party leaders to waste time and resources “chasing the wrong voters for the wrong reasons.” He said, “The narrative that’s shaping their midterm strategy is that white working-class voters who defected to 45 need to see the Democrats address their so-called ‘economic anxieties. But numerous studies have put that lie to rest. It was fear of losing their dominate status in society that drove them into Trump’s base.” Melvin urged Democratic leaders “to lean into their base and stop chasing voters who reject the value and reality of diversity and want to preserve the status quo based on their white skin privilege.” He said, “It’s time for the Party to decide what it stands for and who it stands with. The warning from black trade unionists to the Party is don’t roll the dice. Don’t disrespect us.” CBTU has more than 55 chapters in the United States and Canada, many in key battleground states. The influence of black trade unionists in the African American community is huge. One of every seven black workers is a member of a labor union, making the independent voice of CBTU influential in shaping the attitudes and actions of black people across the United States and Canada.   For more information, visit www.cbtu.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.              




Workers Memorial Day

 

CBTU President Statement on Workers Memorial Day

Statement by Rev. Terry Melvin

President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

On Saturday we observed Workers Memorial Day. It is a day of remembrance where we honor and remember workers who lost their lives on the job. It is a sad and tragic day because some of these casualties are the result of faulty equipment, haphazard safety standards, and employers cutting costs at the expense worker protections. It is always tragic when a person dies on the job, it is unacceptable when these tragedies could have been avoided. We honor their sacrifice and their loss, and send our love and support to their families and community. We work to put food on our table, clothing on our backs, and a roof over our head. We work to survive and exist and enjoy our life away from our job. We should never fear death or harm on our jobs unless we have chosen such a career, like police officer or firefighter. But working on a job site or in an office or out in the field should never be deadly. Unfortunately accidents happen and we mourn those who have perished while on the job. In our mourning we also demand better safety and health conditions for all people. Deregulation has stripped away our protections and continues to threaten both our work and home environment. We need a government that protects its citizens and we need regulations to ensure going to work is not a death sentence. April 28th is Workers Memorial Day. It is a day we honor and remember those who lost their lives while on the job. We honor their family, their children, and their coworkers for keeping their memory and legacy alive. We will commit ourselves and our organization to making sure every year the names on the list get fewer and fewer and our protections get better.




I AM 2018

CBTU President Statement on the I AM 2018 Conference

Statement by Rev. Terry Melvin

President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

From Monday to Wednesday, April 2 – 4, 2018 leaders from Labor Unions, Religious Institutions and Community Organizations are gathering in Memphis, Tennessee to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Sanitation Workers Strike and the famous “At the Mountaintop” speech given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was here that we lost one of our greatest leaders and orators, as it was here that the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. occurred. We are gathered here to honor his legacy but to also make sure that we live up to his ideals by keeping up the fighting and continuing to climb to the top. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life to the people, fighting for us and dying for us. He sacrificed all he had to make this country a safe place for people of all races, creeds and colors. 50 years later we honor his legacy but also admit we have fallen far short of his dream. Today we still see Black men being murdered by law enforcement for holding cellphones, asking questions or driving while Black. The unemployment rate for Blacks is still higher than any other racial demographic. Flint, Michigan still has no clean water, our schools are still underfunded and our communities are still ravaged by drugs and poverty. We have come a long way but we still have more to do and farther to travel on this road of equality. We are gathered in Memphis to say we have not forgotten, we have not given up and we have not sacrificed the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for minor gains and table scraps. We are gathered in Memphis to remind this country that as a people and as a nation we will fight, we will march, and we will create that better tomorrow we all wish for. Under the leadership of AFSCME, we are gathering once again to demand the rights Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died fighting for. We are honoring the man that is more than a speech or a tag line; we are honoring his commitment to justice, his fight for equality and his perseverance in the face of abhorrent racism. These conditions exist today but we are in a better position than 50 years ago to move forward. We are in Memphis to remember and to never forget that we still have far more to go and so much more to gain. The remembrance is here, the work is at home every day going forward. We must take this legacy and bring it back to our homes, our communities and our neighborhoods because it is not enough to just remember, it is our duty to continue the work.