Union Songs

The Two Bums

The bum on the rods is hunted down as an enemy of mankind
The other is driven around to his club, is feted, wined and dined

And they who curse the bum on the rods as the essence of all that's bad
Will greet the other with a willing smile and extend a hand so glad

The bum on the rods is a social flea who gets an occassional bite
The bum on the plush is a social leech, bloodsucking day and night

The bum on the rods is a load so light that his weight we scarcely feel
But it takes the labour of dozens of folks to furnish the other a meal

As long as we sanction the bum on the plush the other will always be there
But rid ourselves of the bum on the plush and the other will dissappear

Then make an intelligent organised kick get rid of the weights that crush
Dont worry about the bum on the rods get rid of the bum on the plush


Utah Phillips writes
"This is a poem from George Milburn's book, The Hobo's Hornbook.

...you hear over and over again, "Nobody ought to get something for nothing." I've got to agree. You've got to work to eat.

I look at a factory. I see that everybody associated with that factory puts something in and they take something out. The workers put in their sweat and their skill, and they take out wages. The salesmen put in their skill and ability, and they take out commissions. The managers and foremen and people in the offices put in theirs, and take out salaries. But there's one group of people who take out more than they put in, and that more is called profit. I can't think of any other way to define it. That's a bunch of people who are getting something they didn't work for, and it's a whole lot. If we're really concerned about people getting just what they earn, if we're really concerned about people not getting something that they didn't put in time and sweat for, let's start with the major offenders, and get rid of them. Then we'll gradually work our way down to the petty chiselers. It just makes sense."

Return to top of page
union songs..........a selection by mark gregory