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Union Boys, song lyrics

Song: Union Boys
Lyrics: Kermit Harden(1)

Music: to the tune of "Sonny Boy"
Year: 1929
Genre: Traditional
Country: USA

Crowd around me here, union boys,
And lend me your ears, union boys,
You've a way of knowing,
I've a way of showing,
What he union means, union boys.

Beal(2) was sent from Bedford(3),
And we know his worth,
He will make a heaven,
For us here on Earth.
This song was originally posted on
We've all worked for low pay,
Right here in Loray(4),
Our union will stay,
union boys.

Manville-Jenckes(5) betrays us,
But the workers all stand by us,
We still have the union, union boys,
And when we get our high pay,
We will never, never stray,
From our eight-hour day, union boys.
This song was originally posted on
T. A. Smith(6) will squeal and squeal,
Painter(7) he will steal and steal,
With our union we will go, union boys.

The Gazette(8) is against us,
Pershing(9) is with us,
Choose of the two, union boys,
Smith will grow lonely,
Want us and us only,
With our union we will go, union boys.

So clumb up on the ties, union boys,
Show up all their lies, union boys,
Jenckes may lie and cheat us,
But he'll never beat us,
Until we won our strike, union boys.


1 - All that we know about Kermit Harden was that he was a striking Loray Mills worker in Gastonia, North Carolina in 1929.

2 - Fred Beal was a labor organizer with the National Textile Workers Union, NTWU.

3 - New Bedford, Massachusetts, where the NTWU was founded in September of 1928.

4 - Loray Mill Project, from the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill.

5 - Manville-Jenckes was a corporate conglomerate formed in 1923, that owned many texile mills, including the Loray Mill.

6 - Sorry we have no citations for "T. A. Smith", but if you do, please go to the About page at the top menu and send us an email about it. Thank you.

7 - Sorry, no citiations for "Painter" though we do know a Painter family lived at the time in Gastonia.

8 - The Gastonia Daily Gazette, the local newspaper that was very pro-business.

9 - George Pershing, was a young assistant to Fred Beal with the National Textile Workers

10 - North Carolina Workers Strike in Gastonia from the University of North Carolina.

11 - Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929, North Carolina.

12 - A Historic Textile Mill Begins a New Chapter, by C.J. Hughes, New York Times, May 7, 2013.