Gov. Northam must Resign

CBTU President Statement on Gov. Northam Blackface

Statement by Rev. Terry Melvin

President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists


For too long Blacks in America have had to accept that the society around them is overtly and aggressively racist. From minstrel shows, to Blackface, to Back of the Bus, to Trayvon Martin we have been reminded time and time again that our ancestors were slaves and the legacy of slavery still exists. We have witnessed a new surge in the public consciousness that has made it clear this will no longer be deemed socially acceptable. We no longer have to accept Blackface as just a joke, and instead can demand reparations from these insults. Gov. Northam has been exposed as someone who found this behavior acceptable and for that he must resign as consequence for his actions.

Gov. Northam presents a challenge for the American consciousness. Overall he has done good work, and his deeds as governor were not detrimental to the Black population. We can commend the good deeds he has done in office, but we cannot look past his past. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the racism that exists in this nation. And so CBTU calls on his immediate resignation, in addition to the resignation of Representative and White Nationalist Steve King, who is far worse and more egregious than Northam.

Blacks have had to watch videos of our brothers being choked or shot to death by police, banned from the NFL for taking a knee, and our first Black president called every insult under the sun. Our role models are being torn apart, while our children are being criminalized and incarcerated. The least we can demand from our political leaders is to not be overtly racist. The one standard we should agree to is no mockery of any race or creed or color. For these reasons we need to draw a line in the sand and demand all these racists get purged from office, from Gov. Northam, to Steve King, to Mitch McConnell and his confederate flag loving support, down to the bottom of the barrel, Trump. All racists must go and our standard should be hypocritical if their party is the same as ours.


Support the People of Zimbabwe

CBTU President Statement on the Situation in Zimbabwe

Statement by Rev. Terry Melvin

President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

When Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe was ousted in 2017, there was a question that was broadly asked:  was there now to be a return to democracy? Also, will the goals of the original Zimbabwean Revolution be finally realized? As such, and despite evidence of hostility to dissent, the government of Emmerson Mnangagwa, was given the benefit of the doubt by many both in Zimbabwe and in other countries.  It is now apparent that rather than creating a wider space for democratic debate and dissent, and rather than returning to the road of the Zimbabwean Revolution, Mnangagwa has chosen the route of the police state.

In response to a protest called by trade union leaders regarding the increase in fuel prices, the Mnangagwa government began open repression, including beatings and imprisonment of protesters and opposition figures.  This has included the jailing of members and leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the largest of the Zimbabwean labor federations and one with which CBTU has had a relationship for years.

The repression of the ZCTU is not new.  Under former President Mugabe, leaders and activists were routinely jailed and, in some cases, tortured for opposing various policies of the government.  ZCTU, like many other organizations in Zimbabwe, expected some relief from repression. Instead they have received repression once again.

One conclusion that we can draw from what is underway in Zimbabwe is that while former President Mugabe had a strong persona, the challenges facing Zimbabwe go way beyond that of an individual.  There is a regime in place that seeks to enrich itself and smash any and all opposition, always holding up the Zimbabwean flag when they do so. The time has certainly arrived where it needs to be made clear that such repression will not be excused away or ignored by anyone, including and especially those of us—organizations and individuals—who for so long supported the Zimbabwean Revolution.

Pressure external to Zimbabwe is very important but that pressure must come from African nations and progressive social movements rather than from rogue forces such as the Trump administration.  CBTU, therefore, adds its voice to others that insist that the African Union take an active role in bringing about a peaceful and just resolution of Zimbabwe’s conflict. We can no longer afford to allow charlatans to fly the flag of progressive nationalism and sovereignty while they are doing all that they can to support and reinforce the privileges of a small elite.

We support the Zimbabwean Revolution but we oppose the authoritarianism of the Mnangagwa regime.  The people must come to power!

CBTU Convention Call

CBTU Convention Call 2019

February 2019

Dear Members, Friends, and Family,

I am issuing the official convention call to the 48th International Convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). The convention will be held in Atlanta, Georgia at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 265 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 from May 21-27, 2019. Our theme this year is “Reclaiming our Country: United for a Better Tomorrow”. All general convention sessions will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

It has been a tumultuous year. We have seen the moral fabric of our society torn apart like children from their parents at the border. We have the casualties of voter suppression in both Georgia, Florida, and other states. We have seen Labor attacked from all sides, and in the face of this we have seen success after success. We have witnessed new social standards that will not accept racism and wage oppression. With this in mind we will be gathering to layout the platform for the work ahead of us. Please note all of our activities as the calendar is full.

Preconvention sessions begin Tuesday, May 21st. We will be offering the Carol Anderson Leadership Training. This is for CBTU Leadership looking to advance their skills, their chapters and their regions. We will also be offering Common Sense Economics - Train the Trainer. This training will empowers members on how to explain and breakdown the economy. Special Registration is required for both.

Wednesday, May 22nd Bill Fletcher Jr. has agreed once again to host a dynamic session entitled: “Does the Labor Movement need to be Anti-Capitalist?” Special Registration is required.

The general convention begins Thursday, May 23rd where we will get the climate of our situation. May 23 - 26th is the general convention that puts a spotlight and microscope on the issues impacting our communities and ways to fight back.

Registration for the 2019 convention can be done by downloading forms online at the CBTU website, Should you have any questions or need additional information, please call the CBTU International office at 202-778-3318 or email us at

In Solidarity,

Rev. Terrence L. Melvin, President

Supreme Court Corrupted

CBTU President Statement on the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

Statement by Rev. Terry Melvin

President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists


Brett Kavanaugh has been appointed to the highest court of our country. Brett Kavanaugh is now a Supreme Court Justice. He has earned this role not through merits, credentials, or professionalism. Rather he has been appointed due to partisanship, political motivations, and misogyny. He has been given this position exclusively due to his privilege and the manner in which he can be manipulated. Our Supreme Court, once considered to be objective and the last bastion of justice, is now completely tainted and corrupted by this appointment. CBTU is ashamed and appalled at all legislators that voted in support of Brett Kavanaugh. CBTU stands in opposition of his appointment.


The role of a Supreme Court Justice is to view and interpret the law above one’s political ideology. As the final say in all judicial matters the Supreme Court needs to maintain an objectivity beyond political party, and make rulings with sound legal precedent. We have found that this Court is currently very partisan and Brett Kavanaugh has proven he will vote with a political agenda. Before cameras and Senators he attacked Democrats, complained of a conspiracy theory, yelled and cried, and repeatedly stated he liked beer. His temperament and behavior make him unfit for the bench, but most importantly it validated that he will be biased and vindictive on the bench. With enough votes from his party Brett was able to use his frat boy persona to become a Supreme Court Judge.


We have failed as a nation and most importantly we have failed our women of this country. We have allowed sexual assault to be treated as a punch line, and have validated white male privilege with this appointment. But most crucially, we have proven that political apathy, low voter turnout, and disinterest in our government will lead to consequences that will be felt by generations. We have failed our children with the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh because we have allowed his enablers to take over seats of power. CBTU opposes this Supreme Court appointment and is committed to making sure we put the right people into power and organizing beyond the rulings of this court. Janis v. AFSCME didn’t stop us and neither will Brett.

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.