Saturday, March 30, 2013

Punk Rock Poetry Corner: Union Haiku (Guest Post: Don Hargraves)

Union Haiku

Sitting in class
the last day of worker training
Management man speaks.

Management man says:
"I'm neither for or against
the teamster union,

"But remember this:
The union doesn't pay you,
the company does."

- - - - - - - - - -

Your statement is true
but if it were up to you
you would pay much less

Our wages would drop
And benefits disappear
As your profits rise

And the rules would shift
as management whim becomes
workfloor policy.

The union makes you
deal with us employees
as equals, with rights.

The Union makes you
pay a decent wage for work
that we do for you.

The union makes you
give us benefits you would
not give otherwise.

The union makes you
comply with OSHA, they make
you think of safety.

- - - - - - - - - -

Management man, you
have the company's backing
and all it entails:

Would we work for you
were it not for the money
you put in our hands?

Lawyers work for you,
you hire your own police
to watch over us

Meanwhile governments
beg for you to pick their land
to place factories.

Pointing guns at us,
they give money and promise
worker slavery

for the benefits
(however iffy) of your
presence on their land.

- - - - - - - - - -

Without the union
workers must view each other
as enemies

Hiding under you
as you use us as your tools
to keep your power

Burning ourselves out
only to be thrown away
when we're all used up.

- - - - - - - - - -

So I'll stay union
And stand alongside the workers,
fighting with them

For a living wage,
benefits that protects us
from life's vagaries

And to enjoy friendships
and pleasures not conditioned
by our working life.

Don Hargraves

Finished May 10, 1999
Rewritten July 29, 2002