Joe Jencks

Rise as One

I dedicate this recording of 'Rise As One' to my new niece Annika Jencks. "We will build a brand new future for our daughters and our sons…" …and our nieces & nephews! Thanks to Mike Tadsen and John & Judy Gallo for inviting me to meet some of the workers and for sharing the story with me. The workers of OAPSIE Local 419 are heroes in my book.

It is we who serve the lunches, we who sweep the floors
We who drive the busses with your children off to school
We keep the buildings warm in winter, and cool when it's hot
And we will not let you play us for the fool
When we ask for better healthcare, or an increase in our wage
You tell us that the township can't afford to pay the bill
But you found half a million dollars from within those very coffers
To try and break the union's back and break our will

And we will never give up, we will never give in
And we'll never, ever go away
We will build a brand new future for our daughters and our sons
We will work 'til all workers rise as one

We believe in education and the future of our town
And the children that we serve from day to day
Whenever there's a need we always go the extra mile
God knows we do it for the love, not for the pay
But we have worked as hard as any for every inch of ground
That we've gained in the struggle for our rights
And we will not stand by idly as you try to tear us down
If we have to we will organize a strike

Well we didn't have a penny in our strike fund, sad but true
That made us all a little bit afraid
But the call went out to every other union in the state
And somehow all the workers' bills were paid
You see this isn't just the schools within our town
When we dare to raise our voice in solidarity we stand
With every other worker all the world around

We held a rally at the fairgrounds, to show them our resolve
And to drum up some support for our campaign
A thousand people hit the street, and that's more than half our town
And after that, you know things couldn't be the same
Now whoever would've guessed it, when this whole thing began
We'd have the strength to hold out for so long
But three months have now gone by and the school board just gave in
On their demands, now we can sing our victory song

© 2002 Joe Jencks, Turtle Bear Music