The Right to Just and Favorable Conditions of Work: Black Workers For Justice
Black Workers For Justice (BWFJ) was formed out of a struggle led by Black women workers against race discrimination at a Kmart store in Rocky Mount, NC in 1981. A Kmart workers committee was formed as Black Workers For Justice at Kmart to carry out a worker and community campaign to put pressure on the Kmart Corporation. By using a petition to reach out to area workplaces and the community and building a coalition that initiated a Kmart boycott, workers from other workplaces and supporters from 10 counties came together to form Black Workers For Justice in the Spring of 1982 to build workplace organizing committees with a broad Black and working class economic and social justice program.
A continuing major goal of BWFJ is the building of a South-wide social justice and human rights labor movement with the energy and popular social movement character of the civil rights movement. BWFJ is one of the core organizations building the Southern Workers Assembly (SWA). The SWA was launch in June 2012, with an initial goal of holding a worker convergence in Charlotte, NC on September 3, 2012, the opening day of the Democratic National Convention where workers would begin discussing the need to build a Southern labor alliance to make a concentrated effort to build a labor movement to organize the South. More than 300 mainly rank-and-file workers attended the SWA from 8 Southern states. The SWA will be meeting at the Southern Human Rights Organizer’s Conference (SHROC) in Charleston, SC on Dec. 7-9, 2012 to plan next steps.
As part of BWFJ's program of organizing labor in the South, BWFJ played a major role in organizing the NC Public Service Workers Union-UE Local 150 which has more than 3000 dues paying members throughout the state. BWFJ has been a core organization in building the struggle and coalitions for the repeal of the ban on collective bargaining rights for public sector.
Check out this video that USHRN produced of BWFJ Leader, Larsene Taylor, speaking on the organizing work she does.
Want to learn more about BWFJ? Watch this short documentary on the history of BWFJ!