Union Songs

The Picket Line

A poem by Michael Fanning©1985 Michael Fanning

Billy Jones passed away - a sudden heart attack,
They took him to the hospital, but they didn't bring him back.
A good strong union brother, who fought to help the meek
And a very strong supporter of the thirty-five hour week.
He stood at Heaven's Pearly Gates, he rang the tiny bell.
Saint Peter looked out with a frown and said, 'You can go to Hell;
We don't need any union troubles or any union strife;
I'm sorry but you'll have to pay for the things you've done in life!'

But Billy would have none of this, 'You must be joking mate!
If you won't let me come inside, I'll picket at your gate:
I've always been an honest man,' his chest filled up with pride.
'If you won't let me through those gates, then no-one gets inside.'
Just then another soul arrived, greeted Billy with a grin,
'What seems to be the trouble mate, won't they let you in?'
He listened to Bill's story and said, 'I'm with you mate;
There ain't no way that anyone will pass through this hallowed gate!'

He introduced himself as Tom, a truckie from Paraburdoo,
Who had once been the convener for the A.W.U.
He said, 'Don't worry Billy Jones, the fight has just begun;
And we shall not move from this spot until the battle's won!'
The picket line held through that day and well into the night,
The numbers grew as more souls arrived to help poor Billy's plight.
God called for Saint Peter, and said, 'What's the trouble mate?
I hear you're having trouble down at my Pearly Gate.'

'I've discussed it with the board, they want your resignation,
But I've told them that I'd transfer you to a more suitable location.
I've thought about this carefully, to find you a new position,
I'm sending you to Australia to join Andrew's opposition.
'Now Bill sits at the Pearly Gates, with Tom, his right-hand man,
And he's altered the admission rules to suit the working man,
Now if you want to enter Heaven, it's really not that hard,
Just show young Tom and Bill your paid up union card.


This poem was published in 'The Pilbara Connection' (1985 ... compiled by Roger Montgomery). It was written by Michael Fanning Fuel Truck Driver Mount Newman, May 1985.

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