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 Woody Guthrie on Subway Strikes


By Woody Guthrie
Early 1940s

Well, I got me a job in this man's town
On this subway train down under the ground;
My pay's so low I went in the hole,
And I can't get out, folks, to save my soul.
Wages on the floor, prices on the ceilin'...

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I want to work and help win this war,
And that's what I work on the subway for;
My car's so loaded, jammed and packed,
My wheels keep a-jumpin' on the railroad track.
Wheels need greasin'. Pay needs raisin'.

Well, I joined the union to win my rights,
I went to Mr. Delaney and put up a fight;
I told him my job was part of my soul,
But Delaney don't want my wheels to roll.
Neither does Mr. Hitler. Pestbrook Wiggler – I
mean jibbler –
Pestbrook, Higgler – aw, skip it.*

I told Mr. Delaney if my kids don't eat
All of you workers will walk the street.
Mr. Delaney just stretched and yawned,
He must not know there's a war goin' on.
People fightin'. Winnin' freedom.

I got to thinkin' 'bout this war I'm tryin' to win,
So I went to the mayor once again.
I said, 'I don't want no Hitler scale,
I want to roll to victory on a union rail!'
Pay house rent. Eat groceries. Get a beef stew.
Pound of coffee.

So if you want to win this war I'll tell you what to do,
You got to work and fight for the T.W.U.,
You got to toot your whistle, got to ring your bell,
You got to keep all the Fascists in a union hell.
Keep 'em there. Don't let 'em out.

You got to join the union, got to pay your dues,
Got to shake hands and stick it through,
I'm a union man in a union war,
And it's a union world I'm a-fightin' for..
Union or fascist. Take your choice.

* Note: Westbrook Pegler was the Rush Limbaugh of his day, a virulently anti-union, right-wing columnist and radio personality

Obtained from Woody Guthrie by Dr. John Greenway and reprinted in liner notes for 'Talking Blues,' Folkways, 1958.

Reprinted, as permitted, from: www.ilcaonline.org

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"Woody Guthrie on Subway Strikes" | Login/Create an Account | 4 comments | Search Discussion
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Re: Woody Guthrie on Subway Strikes (Score: 1)
by 13thGuard on Wednesday, December 28 @ 17:24:26 EST
(User Info | Send a Message)
I was a member of the Steelworkers Union once many years ago, never did a thing for me, but for all of us...

Whats shocking is how fast the unions buckled, because of fines and jail sentences, if Hoffa was alive we would of had a war...

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