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Strawbs – Part Of The Union lyrics

Now I'm a union man
Amazed at what I am
I say what I think, that the company stinks
Yes I'm a union man

When we meet in the local hall
I'll be voting with them all
With a hell of a shout, it's "Out brothers, out!"
And the rise of the factory's fall

Oh, you don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
Til the day I die
Til the day I die

Us union men are wise
To the lies of the company spies
And I don't get fooled by the factory rules
'Cause I always read between the lines

And I always get my way
If I strike for higher pay
When I show my card to the Scotland Yard
And this is what I say:

Oh, oh, you don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
Til the day I die
Til the day I die

Before the union did appear
My life was half as clear
Now I've got the power to the working hour
And every other day of the year

So though I'm a working man
I can ruin the government's plan
And though I'm not hard, the sight of my card
Makes me some kind of superman

Oh, oh, oh, you don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
Til the day I die
Til the day I die

You don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
You don't get me, I'm part of the union
Til the day I die
Til the day I die



Lyrics taken from /lyrics/s/strawbs/part_of_the_union.html

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Corrected by Colin Baker

Part Of The Union meanings

  • j
    - 1
    Jon-ro
    An anti-union song which reflected what was considered excessive union power in the UK in the 1970s, but ultimately became a rallying cry of workers during industrial disputes.

    The song was anti-union, written at a time when union power in the 70s was considered excessive. "I say what I think, that the company stinks," incorrectly indicated no loyalty to the company by the union member, but correctly indicated that they were virtually untouchable by the company due to the protection provided by the union (i.e. threat of strike action and damage to company profits).

    Being excited by "the company's fall" was not usually in the union's interest, but the power wielded brought about much needed change in industrial relations. "Not being fooled by the company's rules," a reference to improved union education and resources, that not only enabled workers to effectively see through company lies and propaganda, but helped workers realise what their strike was really about and why.

    "Before the union did appear, my life was half as clear," a reference to the beck and call that workers were subjected to before unions - much like the zero contracts of the gig-economy today. Employers were forced to provide not only better pay, a living wage, but better work life balances, fair pay, maternity leave, paid holidays and sick pay,either through changes in company practices or changes in political policies ("I can ruin the government's plan").
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