NYS AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Terry Melvin
Elected President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
At the 41st International Convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), NYS AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Terrence (Terry) L. Melvin was elected unanimously as the organization’s new president, succeeding William (Bill) Lucy, who had held the position since he co-founded CBTU in 1972. CBTU, which is dedicated to addressing the unique concerns of black workers and their communities, has 50 chapters in major U.S. cities and one in Ontario, Canada.
In his acceptance remarks after taking the oath of office, Melvin warned CBTU members not to fall into the trap of nostalgia or complacency. “We cannot rely on CBTU’s golden legacy to protect our collective bargaining rights today. We must fight like hell now – again and again. Our place in the voting booth is not reserved, either. We must fight voter suppression tactics all over the country.”
Since being elected secretary-treasurer of the 2.5 million-member NYS AFL-CIO in 2007, Melvin has championed the development of strong ties between labor, religious organizations and community partners. In December 2008, he spearheaded the development of the NYS AFL-CIO Community Outreach Department, which he oversees the day-to-day operations.
“Terry Melvin’s election as President of CBTU is truly well-deserved,” said Mario Cilento, President of the NYS AFL-CIO. “I have seen firsthand Terry’s commitment to improving the lives of all working men and women and to strengthening the voice of minority members within our unions. He will be an outstanding leader for the organization, and will only enhance the coalition’s role in our labor movement. I congratulate Terry on this tremendous honor.”
Melvin said, “We must continue to do the work of keeping CBTU relevant, if we intend to hold onto the gains we’ve made over the years. Doing the work means getting back to basics – constantly recruiting new members, building stronger chapters and becoming self-sufficient financially.”