Day 49, Song 69

Utah Phillips

There is Power in a Union

Utah Phillips was a labor organizer and folk singer. Though known primarily for his work as a musician and organizer, Phillips also worked as an archivist, dishwasher, and warehouse-man. He died in 2008.

Joe Hill was a songwriter, labor activist, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World. An immigrant from Sweden, Hill wrote music that spoke to the experience of itinerant workers across the country. Some of his more famous songs include, "The Preacher and the Slave," "The Tramp," and the song featured here, performed by Utah Phillips, "There is Power in a Union." In 1914, a Salt Lake City area grocer and his son were shot and killed by two men. Hill was accused of the murder and, after a controversial trial, he was convicted and sentenced to death.


Would you have freedom from Wage slavery, Then join in the grand Industrial band; Would you from mis'ry and hunger be free, Then come, do your share, like a man. (Chorus) There is pow'r there is pow'r in a band of workingmen, When they stand hand in hand, That's a pow'r, that's a pow'r That must rule in every land— One Industrial Union Grand. Would you have mansions of gold in the sky, and live in a shack, way in the back? Would you have wings up in heaven to fly, And starve here with rags on your back? If you've had 'nuff of the "blood of the lamb" Then join in the grand industrial band; If, for a change, you would have eggs and ham, Then come, do your share, like a man. If you like sluggers to beat off your head, Then don't organize, all unions despise. If you want nothing before you are dead, Shake hands with your boss and look Wise. Come, all ye workers, from every land, Come, join in the grand industrial band; Then we our share of this earth shall demand. Come on! Do your share, like a man. Lyrics and music by Joe Hill