Tune: “Tell Mother I’ll Be There” (Charles M. Fillmore) (1898)
First published in the 1913 edition of the IWW’s Little Red Songbook.
A little girl was working in a big department store,
Her little wage for food was spent; her dress was old and tore.
She asked the foreman for a raise, so humbly and so shy,
And this is what the foreman did reply:
Why don’t you get a beau?
Some nice old man, you know!
He’ll give you money if you treat him right.
If he has lots of gold,
Don’t mind if he is old.
Go! Get some nice old gentleman tonight.
The little girl then went to see the owner of the store,
She told the story that he’d heard so many times before.
The owner cried: “You are discharged! Oh, my, that big disgrace,
A ragged thing like you around my placel”
The little girl she said: “I know a man that can’t be wrong,
I’ll go and see the preacher in the church where I belong.”
She told him she was down and out and had no place to stay.
And this is what the holy man did say:
Next day while walking round she saw a sign inside a hall,
It read: The One Big Union Will Give Liberty to All.
She said: I’ll join that union, and I’ll surely do my best,
And now she’s gaily singing with the rest:
Oh, Workers do unite!
To crush the tyrant’s might,
The One Big Union Banner is Unfurled —
Come slaves from every land,
Come join this fighting band,
It’s named Industrial Workers of the World.