What a call to courage sounds like: Woody Guthrie’s “Union Maid”

Woody Guthrie wrote this classic in 1940 to stiffen the spines of union men and women. A nice piece of writing, very singable even today. Enjoy this pickin’-and-singin’ version of “Union Maid” by Arlo Guthrie (Woody’s son) and Pete Seeger.

Opening lyrics:

There once was a union maid
Who never was afraid
Of the goons and the ginks
And the company finks
And the deputy sheriffs that made the raids.

She went to the union hall
When a meeting it was called
And when the company boys came around
She always stood her ground.

Oh you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union.

What an ear Guthrie had — “the goons and the ginks and the company finks”. Back then, those words had meanings. Look up “fink” sometime.

There’s more than one “union” this applies to. The union of progressives to “Stop Chained CPI” is another. Which reminds me: Senate phone numbers here. House phone numbers here. Call on Monday; switchboards are definitely open.


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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3 Responses to “What a call to courage sounds like: Woody Guthrie’s “Union Maid””

  1. Kenneth C. Fingeret says:

    Hello Gaius Publius,

    The Chained CPI is another step on the American Death March. My prediction it will become the “law of the land” and one of the celebrated achievements of the big “O” along with firing drones and more endless wars.

  2. unrepentant_expat says:

    I’d like to think that the citizens of americe had the backbone and the dedication to stand up to the corporate masters and seize back what their grandparents had back during the Dirty Thirties. The workers of the world should unite.

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