Today in Labor History: January 15
Wobbly Ralph Chaplin, in Chicago for a demonstration against hunger, completes the writing of the labor anthem “Solidarity Forever” on this date in 1915. He’d begun writing it in 1914 during a miners’ strike in Huntington, W. Va. The first verse:
When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong – 1915
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Member Tip: Show Solidarity
It’s pretty easy to understand in the abstract the notion that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” And it’s also not too complicated to grasp that if I don’t speak up when someone else is being mistreated, that person isn’t likely to be there for me when I need some support. But what’s needed, of course, is for each of us to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.” So if your co-workers on the night shift are getting cheated out of their differential, the test is whether you and your co-workers on the day shift make it your business to make sure that the union can do what’s needed to take on the employer.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer