I Am a Union Woman
DESCRIPTION: The singer proclaims, "I am a union woman, Just as brave as I can be... And the bosses don't like me." She tells all to "join the C.I.O./N.M.U." She is called a Red and shot at for her activities; her husband denied work; but she still supports the union
AUTHOR: Words: Aunt Molly Jackson/Music: Traditional
EARLIEST DATE: 1930s (recorded by author)
KEYWORDS: work unemployment labor-movement
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Arnett, pp. 174-175, "I Am a Union Woman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenway-AFP, pp. 269-270, "I Am a Union Woman" (1 text)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Join the C.I.O." (on NLCR09)
cf. "Which Side Are You On?" (tune)
Join the N. M. U.
Join the C. I. O.
NOTES: The radical National Miners' Union (N.M.U.) attempted to organize miners in the 1930s, but were defeated by the mine owners after bitter and bloody conflicts. The United Mine Workers of America (U.M.W.), part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (C.I.O.) succeeded a few years later, again after terrible struggle. The song was rewritten [it is based on "Which Side Are You On" - DGE] to suit the new organizing drive.
The note from DGE states that this was based on, "Which Side Are You On?," but this song may predate it. Both were based on a traditional hymn tune. - PJS
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.