Union Songs

Stand By the Union

A song by Lyell Sayer©Lyell Sayer 1984

How often have you heard it said, 'I can't afford the fees!
No, I don't need the union and they don't need me.
But when the chips are down, they're the first to complain.
When you don't join the union, you play the bosses' game!

For when you stand by the union, the union stands by you,
When we all band together we can stand straight and true,
If he tries to stand alone, then a worker's sure to fail,
But if he stands by the union, the union shall prevail!

Our fathers learned this lesson well, so many years ago,
That workers must be ready to trade blow for blow,
For when it comes to the crunch, in the factory or mine,
All gains must be won by the strike and picket line.

We'll fight for shorter hours, for a Health and Safety Bill,
An end to conditions that injure and kill,
A future for our kids and fair taxes as well,
And them that don't like it, well they can go to hell!


Lyell Sayer has worked as a clerk, storeman, driver, salesman, customs officer, as well as being a folk singer and song-writer for many years. His work with the Amalgamated Metal Workers' Union in Victoria in 1984 gave him and the union the opportunity to express a range of current issues and concerns through a medium not so common in workplaces - music and song. 'Stand by the union' is Lyell's contribution to a tradition of rousing union songs of solidarity in the 'Which side are you on?' mode.

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