My Step-Grandfather God rest his soul, used to say to me "You can thank your Unions for pricing us out of a world economy!"
I understand why he would say that, I really do. But seriously, who would really want to go back to the sweatshops? It's just something I pondered this morning while listening to a little Woody Guthrie.
Some blame unions for our jobs being exported overseas. It can't be that simple, though. Nobody told President Bush he had to go whole hog on NAFTA and outsourcing, did they?
Nobody ever said that we should ignore working conditions in those overseas places, did they?
Rhetorical questions. Nevermind.
Sometimes it's best to let a song's lyrics speak for themselves:
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
It's concerning some young fellows who did agree to go
and spend one summer pleasantly of the range of the buffalo.
A man by the name of Crego came stepping up to me,
Saying, "How do you do, young fellow, and how would you like to go
And spend one summer pleasantly on the range of the buffalo?"
"This going out on the buffalo range depends upon the pay.
But if you will pay good wages and transportation, too,
I think, sir, I will go with you to the range of the buffalo."
Provided you will go with me and stay the summer through:
But if you should grow homesick, come back to Jackboro,
I won't pay transportation from the range of the buffalo."
With navy six and needle gun - our troubles did begin:
Our way it was a pleasant one, the route we had to go,
Until we crossed Pease River on the range of the buffalo.
The first dam tail I went to rip, Christ! How I cut my thumb!
While skinning the dam old stinkers our lives they had no show,
For the Indians watched to pick us off while skinning the buffalo.
It was old jerked beef, croton coffee and sour bread.
Pease River's as salty as hell fire, the water I could never go -
O God! I wished I had never come to the range of the buffalo.
And all we had to sleep on was a buffalo robe for a bed:
The fleas and graybacks worked on us, O boys, it was not slow,
I'll tell you there's no worse hell on earth than the range of the buffalo.
And the hardships of that summer would nearly make us reel.
While skinning the damned old stinkers our lives they had no show.
For the Indians waited to pick us off on the Hills of Mexico.
The crowd had been extravagant, was in debt to him that day,
We coaxed him and we begged him and still it was no go -
We left old Crego's bones to bleach on the range of the buffalo.
No more in that hell-fired country shall ever be found.
Go home to our wives and sweethearts, tell others not to go,
For God's forsaken the buffalo range and the damned old buffalo.
© Copyright 1956 (renewed), 1962 (renewed) by the The Bicycle Music Company