Union Songs


A song by Beth Proudley ©2002 Beth Proudley

A workers rights are the most important
Rights you can have, so don't lie dormant
Organise and unify your voices
And demand the right to negotiation
Demand your right to free education
Don't get trampled down by exploitation
Because you don't have any clout as a free agent
Stand with us and shout for fair wages
(Don't keep trying to ignore
All that we've been fighting for,
Don't sit, back and watch them outsource all the work offshore).
And I'll tell you what,
On the first of May
You'll be thanking the union for your eight hour day
Paid maternity leave? Holiday pay!
So join together and raise your voices
Raise your wages and your choices
Because you don't have any clout as a free agent
Stand with us and shout for fair wages
Because together and united we wont be defeated
And the fight for a living wage'll never weaken


Many thanks to Beth Proudley, and her group Dogbite, for permission to include this song in the Union Songs collection. Clout was one of the six finalists in the 2002 Wobbly Radio song competition in Australia.

Beth writes:
"I have been a huge Billy Bragg fan since I was about 16 and loved 'Power in a Union' and 'Youth of America' and songs like that - they're really catchy, strong and informative. I think it's quite hard to get a political idea across in song if the song isn't catchy and doesn't stick in your head after a few listens, so that's really what I wanted to achieve.

I suppose Billy Bragg and the Housemartins really shaped how I think about political songs - they released a lot of stuff around the time that the 'Red Wedge' collective was formed in England - which was basically a lot of musos and arts based people who were trying to get the Conservatives out of government."

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