Jules’s Jukebox: Union Power

Today’s songs have been selected in honor of me and my team entering day 2 of contract negotiations tomorrow. Teachers unions differ in many ways from their working class brothers and sisters, but those of us in union leadership honor our union history and culture. Utah Phillips was a great storyteller and singer in the labor movement, so I selected his cover of Joe Hill’s “There Is Power in the Union,” an ode to solidarity.

“There Is Power in the Union” performed by Utah Phillips (original Joe Hill)

Selection number two, “Which Side Are You On,” is one of my favorite Ani DiFranco songs. Her angry update of Florence Reece’s lyrics to reflect the corruption of our government and the flourishing of corporate greed. The song is more relevant than ever with our new president-elect blending the two like never before in our history.

“Which Side Are You On?” by Ani DiFranco (covering Pete Seeger–written originally by Florence Reece in 1931 during the Harlan County War between the coal miners and mine owners)

So here’s to a productive day at the bargaining table tomorrow…

And here’s a bonus song from the Dust Bowl Troubadour, Woody Guthrie–again, a timely song even though it was written in 1951, about DJT’s father, Fred. While the lyrics to this song were written by Woody, this version is performed by The Missin’ Cousins. The notes on this YouTube video provide a historical account of how this song and other bitter songs decrying the racism of Old Man Trump came to be written.

“I Ain’t Got No Home in this World Anymore/Old Man Trump” by The Missin’ Cousins

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