A delegation from IBEW 1245 attended the 47th International Convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) in Orlando, FL in late May.
CBTU is comprised of 50 chapters in the US and Canada, with representatives from dozens of different unions. CBTU describes itself as “the fiercely independent voice of black workers within the trade union movement, challenging organized labor to be more relevant to the needs and aspirations of Black and poor workers.”
The theme of this year’s CBTU conference was “From Surviving to Thriving,” and focused on the specific issues that have the greatest impact on communities of color, as well as the different methods of resistance that can affect positive change.
The workshops and plenaries were led by a wide array of thought leaders, elected officials and notable thinkers, all of whom shared their wisdom and vision with the conference attendees. Topics ranged from coalition-building, to the school-to-prison pipeline, to leadership development, to voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals, and more.
“The presenters and speakers were knowledgeable,” reported Alfonso Estes III, an IBEW 1245 member who serves on the executive board of the Northern California chapter of CBTU. “The information shared related to much of the founding principles of the CBTU and the importance of continuing and maintaining the organization.”
“Attending the CBTU conference allows me to gather information and resources to bring back to our local and engage our members,” said IBEW 1245 member Charlotte Stevens. “I appreciate and honor the opportunity to be selected as a delegate.”
“This convention opened my eyes to battles on many fronts being fought in a long war. Brought to light were the harsh realities that the cards are stacked against us as union laborers — and even moreso as minorities,” said Local 1245 member Joseph Stewart. “The CBTU 2018 convention has re-fueled the desire to rise to action and given me insight on ways to contribute to positive change.”