Union Songs

The Living Wage

A song by Kristin Lems©2009 Kleine Ding Music (BMI)

- [play]

Well I'm a working woman and a single mother too
I got a full time job, it seemed the only thing to do
Now I work five days, it's a 40 hour week
And here's my life, come close and take a peek (2x)

It's $1200 a month before the SSI and tax
The take-home pay is $900 and 1/2
And the rent takes half of that, leaving $475
With a hundred for the groceries to keep us all alive (2x)

From the $375, take out $50 for the heat
And $50 for the lights and phone, utilities complete,
From the $275 take my public transport pass
To get me to and from this job, for which I bust my ass (2x)

But I haven't finished yet, no, my babies are so young
That one is not in school yet, he has not yet begun
So I pay $200 to a mom who lives near me
So she can spend ten hours a day with him -- instead of me
So she can spend 10 precious hours with him - instead of me

And add to that the clothing bill, the cleaning bill, the shoes
Prescriptions and medicine, birthday gifts and Brownie dues
And take all of that from the sum of $75
And your guess is as good as mine just how we stay alive (2x)

But the system is so thoughtful and the bankers are so kind
They've given me some credit cards for when I fall behind
So I make my monthly payments, a mere 29 to go --
Just looking at this nightmare makes me want to stay at home (2x)

They're trying to get welfare mothers into full time jobs
If we aren't thrilled to leave the home, they call us lazy slobs -
Offer minimum wage, no benefits, and no childcare, naturally
So more can join the weary ranks of working poor like me (2x)

Oh I'd like to take each potbellied pol who talks that way
And let him try to take a walk in my shoes for a day,
He'd be screaming and crying and begging and irate
To raise the living wage now, before it is too late (2x)

For I'm a working woman and a single mother too
I left my full time job, it seemed the only thing to do
And until that happy day that the living wage is raised,
I'll do odds jobs, stay with my kids, and home is where I'll stay
This rich land can afford it, we have got to find a way
We've got to raise the living wage -- we've got to find a way


Many thanks to Kristin Lems for permission to add this song to the Union Songs collection.

Kristin writes:
'I just discovered your excellent resource from someone in Labor Heritage Foundation, who suggested I send you my song(s) ... Thank you for a wonderful site. I will go there many times now that I know it's there. It's the equivalent of Neil Young's anti-war collection!'

Recorded on Equality Road , Kristin Lems, Carolsdatter Productions

Visit Kristin's website at http://kristinlems.com/

Find more of Kristin's work in this collection