Tag Archive: Solidarity Singers

A Couple Pics from Joe Gutenkauf’s Memorial

Maureen, Kendy and I planned to go to the memorial for Joe Gutenkauf yesterday, but a lack of immunization intervened.  Someone decided not to get their baby immunized, and the kid got the measles.  Will a full breakout the baby was brought to Somerset Medical Center to infect everyone there, then someone who got infected there went to Maureen’s office.

So they tested Maureen and she has no demonstrable immunity.  On Sunday morning we got a call from the Somerset County Public Health folks telling us we were quarantined in our home! We couldn’t go shopping, play softball, or say goodbye to a wonderful man and good friend.

All because someone didn’t bother to immunize their kid.  Get the shots, folks. It’s not just about you and your kids, but about everyone they might infect.

Anyway, after the memorial already started we got a call that Kendy and I could leave, so I took her to softball and headed off to the memorial. Maureen stayed home, and is still home in quarantine.

Here’s a couple pics for everyone of Dottie Gutenkauf and the Solidarity Singers.

Dottie telling about how she learned Joe was a “jailbird”

The Solidarity Singers

Singing for the U.A.W. and the Big 3’s bridge loan

We received a very short notice request to sing this morning at a U.A.W. rally/meeting supporting the Big Three auto request to Congress for a bridge loan.  Other than “Solidarity Forever,” it was hard to come up with appropriate material.

The usual picket line song in support of higher wages and bringing the bosses to their knees hardly seemed appropriate.

I ended up “composing” two “new” songs which went over well.  I therefore thought I would share them with you in case you can use them in the coming days of the current emergency.

In addition to singing, please call your Senators and Representatives to support the request for a bridge loan to tide the auto industry over at least until the Obama Administration takes office.  With the Department of Labor this morning confirming the news that 533,000 people lost their jobs in November, we can hardly afford the collapse of the auto industry.  This is not about bailing out poor management, which in any event was no worse than that in the financial industry which continues to be bailed out with no strings attached.  This is about keeping people employed and preserving what little is left of industrial manufacturing in this country.

Much of the opposition to the industry’s request strikes me as old-fashioned union-busting – there seems to be an unwholesome glee in Senator Shelby and others at the prospect of destroying the U.A.W. and all that it has accomplished for every American worker through the example and leadership it has shown in the auto industry.  You can’t tell me that what is ruining the American economy is the fact that U.A.W. retirees get good pensions and health care and that the workers earn a living wage with good benefits in addition.  That’s what we need to create for all, not take away from those who have it.

Our current crisis is more the result of our simultaneous national policies of declaring a War on the Workers, or at least a war on those wprkers who believe that they should earn a decent wage with benefits, while destroying manufacturing, running business on nothing but credit and short-term planning, and creating a consumer driven, service economy staffed by low-wage part-time workers.  How can consumers drive the economy if they don’t have decent jobs that will permit them to afford what they are being asked to consume?  Little wonder that banks have stopped lending easy money and people everywhere are defaulting on mortgages and credit cards.

By some estimates, 10% of all jobs in the United States are linked to the auto industry.  If the Big 3 go down, talk of a deep recession will soon become talk of a depression.

I know that I am probably preaching to the converted by posting this on this list.  I also know, however, that very few of you have already called Congress, let alone gotten your friends and relations to do so, on this issue.  Please do it know!  We can’t let the Big 3 go down the tubes.

My two “new” songs follow.  I hope they help.

In Solidarity,

Bennet D. Zurofsky, Director

Solidarity Singers of the New Jersey Industrial Union Council



(for the U.A.W. in December, 2008)

Original lyrics by Florence Reese

New lyrics by Bennet D. Zurofsky

All of you politicians, please answer our call

Keep America working, don’t let the Big 3 fall

       Which side are you on, friends, which side are you on?

All you folks in Congress, its time for you to show

Are you for the workers, or only CEOs?

       Which side are you on, friends, which side are you on?

Bad management, bad government, got us into this mess

Now with the workers calling, your answer must be “Yes”

       Which side are you on, friends, which side are you on?

This battle’s not about the fate of the Big 3

We need to preserve American industry

       Which side are you on, friends, which side are you on?


Traditional Sea Chantey

New words: Bennet D. Zurofsky

When I was just a little boy, my mother always told me

       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe,

To find a job a-making cars and working for the big three

       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!


       Way haul away – we’ll haul away together

               Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe,

       Way haul away – we’ll haul for better weather

               Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!

But now the times are gettin’ hard, the big three are in trouble

       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe,

And to keep employment in this land, they need help on the double

       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!


Bad management, bad government, the economy is failing,

       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe,

This whole country’s gonna sink, unless we all start bailing

       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!


We’ve got to help each other out, people are our country’s


       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe,

We’ve got to change the system, full employment – no foreclosure.

       Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!