Union Songs

We Will Have Dignity

A Song by Ray Korona©Ray Korona 1998

I'm young, just in my teens, I make toys here in Thailand--
The pig lady and the big ears mouse; you'd think this is fairyland.
But the bosses are in your face. They push and yell all day.
They need more toys somewhere far away. And you can't live on what they pay.

But we will have dignity.
Tear down this misery.
The world will hear our song.
We're growing strong.

One Monday afternoon, there were screams in the factory.
The whole building consumed by flames-- doors locked for security.
In that cruel, cheap fire trap, two hundred workers died.
The broken toys and broken people strewn all over side by side.

Repeat Chorus

And we're fighting back.
Petitions and boycotts will carry us through.
They'll all know that this world is our world too.

Across the seas a land where the dolls find a family.
And the children get to go to school. They don't work in a factory.
There are unions that struggle for better pay and safety.
We'll never rest until the day all people live in dignity.

Repeat Chorus


Many thanks to Ray Korona for permission to add this song to the Union Songs collection.

Ray writes:

'This song is available on the Ray Korona Band's $5 Working Peoples Music Tape (CD) at http://cdbaby.com/cd/raykorona2. Visit us at www.raykorona.com. There's a story behind the song:

I was in contact via the internet with labor organizers in Thailand. These organizers turned out to be teenage girls, relatives of some of the victims of a terrible fire in Bangkok in which nearly 200 young women died. They had been locked in a substandard wooden factory building, making dolls through subcontractors for Disney and Sesame Street.

The ones I exchanged emails with were fearless in fighting for labor rights and wanted people in the US to know about them and their cause. More than wages or safety or anything else, they saw their struggle as one for dignity. I wrote "We Will Have Dignity" to tell the story to all who would listen.

The song has been adopted by the International Labor Office of the UN in its campaign against child labor which published it in numerous languages in booklets for people fighting child labor around the world. It was performed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and the lyrics are also available on the UN web site along with other
information on child labor: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/actrav/genact/child/news/news2.htm

Find more of Ray's work in this collection

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