A poem dedicated to the Steering Committee of the Vermont Workers’ Center and performed at the 2nd Annual Burlington Labor Day Weekend Parade & Picnic at Battery Park August 31, 2002.

By James Haslam

All these plant closings keep going down.
Town after town,
These Corporations just ain’t foolin’ around.
Can you hear the sound, of that last closing bell ringing?
‘Cause the fat woman has been singing
Farewell to Kimberly-Clark, Book Press, Ethan Allen, Stanley Tools
And many more that are going down because of these free trade rules.
Stanley Tools, who played Vermonters like fools.
We made them money for 96 years!
Shaftsbury was Stanley’s most profitable plant in the Northern Hemisphere,
But they go to China and leave us in tears.
Folks be poaching deers to put food on the table,
And now the strong and the able
Have no means
As a result of these free market schemes
These nightmares that were American Dreams
The Many struggle for bread, but you betcha the Few got their cream.
Doesn’t it steam ya, that last year IBM’s CEO Sam Palmisano had $70 million dollar payoff
And now they’re talking about yet another IBM layoff.
Friends this is way-off
We try to form unions, our own organizations
And we are met with brutalization
Corporations are against civilization.
So let’s ask the question
Why – is our economy run as a private tyranny
When we are suppose to live in a Democracy?
We can still all remember that word, right?
When it works for you
And it works for me
It works for us
And we means we.
‘Cause if we keep letting the golfing crowd do the math
They’ll have us all working in retail sales, as cashiers or as waitstaff
And I don’t think we want that to be our epitaph
Because as we feel the wrath of Corporate power
And folks are trying to get by on $6.25 an hour.
In this shower of injustice, this tidal wave of greed
When Corporate profits come before human need..
We can read the writing on the wall
We’re struggling now, and even if our victories are small
We’re beginning to learn that an injury to one IS and injury to all.
We’re beginning to understand that Solidarity is more than just a word, and we can feel it in our bones.
And as this movement grows, we go out on the streets, knock on doors, pickup phones..
And no matter our skin tones, sexual preferences, gender or religion
Together, workers united, damn! We can win!