July 15, 1946, Anniversary of the Stelco Strike of ’46
Poem: The Spirit of ’46
Steelworker poet Bill Mahoney was declared USW 1005’s poet in residence. Photo shows him at the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the strike of ’46, July 23, 2011, where he recited his poem The Spirit of ’46, written for the occasion. Bill updated the poem on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the union’s founding and recited it especially to celebrate the important anniversary.
From the struggle of ’46 the spirit still lives on.
Although many of our veterans are dead and gone.
They fought for social justice and for workers’ rights.
Seventy-five years later we still fight the fights.
They fought for decent wages, benefits and a pension plan.
A working life with dignity for each woman and man.
Showing the way for others right across the land.
Now all across the country, workers are under attack.
Without a strong Union, how would you fight back?
Companies want your dignity; Companies want your pride.
How would you fight the bastards with no one on your side?
Would you go crawling on your hands and knees?
To the foreign masters to do with as they please.
Companies want your loyalty and your sweat and blood.
But when your working days are over they dump you in the mud.
For all the gains we have made, we worked long and hard.
If we now gave up an inch the company’d want a yard.
We were told foreign ownership would be a benefit.
They’ve been here for many a year and we ain’t seen it yet.
They want to rob the elderly; they want to rob the young.
If they can’t do it with a pen, they’ll try to use a gun.
1005 stood up to them that is something they hate.
So on November 7th they locked up the gate.
We are proud Steelworkers from Local 1005,
They can’t steal our dignity, they can’t steal our pride.
We are going to stand up and fight back all the way.
When you mess with 1005 you have hell to pay.
We will have many stories to tell to our kids;
Of times spent on picket lines and when we held the bridge.
When future generations talk about the fight,
They will say we had the courage to stand up for what is right.
Our Local is legendary and our future’s bright
Because we had the courage to stand up and fight.
(July 23, 2011)