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Monday Morning Music: Union Maid

We’re looking for ways to keep the site lively and interactive, and so we’re going to try a weekly “Monday Morning Music” feature. Send us your requests. We’re looking for as wide a range of music as possible. It needn’t be folk and it needn’t be officially a labor song. Don’t be scared off by my choice, below. Any genre, any language – just let it be a song that reminds you of  solidarity, overcoming adversity, or that simply inspires you to do the work you do. Oh, and tell us why you chose the song you did. Every Monday we’ll post a new one, with credit to the member who sent it in, and their explanation of the song’s importance.

Elizabeth Wood’s choice: Union Maid (or, You Can’t Scare Me, I’m Sticking To The Union). Written by Woody Guthrie and performed by Old Crow Medicine Show.

I chose this because of a particular moment in my own union work. I was in Ithaca for a week-long summer school for union women. It was very demanding: days filled with classes and nights filled with homework and socializing-as-solidarity-building. Yet when we learned that local transit workers were picketing nearby, one of our group organized a bus and box lunches so we could join in and show our solidarity without missing any class time. On the bus ride, Claudia Shacter-deChabert, NCCFT’s very own Labor Relations Specialist (and an instructor that week), led us in labor songs. I’d never heard “Union Maid” before and it was so catchy that it stayed in my head for days. To make the song more personally meaningful, my dear colleague Arnie Silverman used to give out funny awards at our holiday party every December. The year before last he made a playlist with one song per department member. This was the song he chose for me. Arnie died in December of this past year and putting this song up for Monday Morning Music makes me think happily of him.

The rendition above is by Old Crow Medicine Show with labor movement photos added by YouTube user Auntie Trust.

Bonus track: Here’s Arlo Guthrie and Sarah Lee Guthrie. Arlo Guthrie leads in with a several-minute-long story about how his father came to write the song. If you don’t pay close attention to the words you can hear Alice’s Restaurant in his cadence.

Use the link in the “Suggestion Box” on the left sidebar, or click here to send us your suggestions. Remember, any style of music, any language – just let it be something that makes you think of solidarity, working together, education, or that inspires you to do the work you do. We’ll acknowledge every submission and will play as many as we can.

-Elizabeth Wood, your Treasurer and Monday Morning DJ)