I will be doing something a little different with this post. My daughter works on the assembly line at a local Stellantis plant. She is a member of the U.A.W. that is currently on strike. The company considers her a part-time worker even though she has worked a forty hour work week for the past four years. Worker greed has been the media focus for most of this strike, but the issues run so much deeper than an increase in pay. Seventy year old people are working in this industrial environment because they gave up their pensions to help the companies during the last economic down turn. Those conditions are the inspiration of this poem from a workers point of view.
There is no accounting for when and where inspiration strikes. My daughter Mary Lee (pen name) wrote this poem on her phone when the contract deadline passed. She attempted to capture the sights, sounds, and atmosphere with her words. I helped her put it into a free verse poetic form. She asked me to share it with my blog audience.
A free verse poem by Mary Lee and a workers point of view
Tick Tock! (Part One) Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick tock, The third shift 11:59 p.m. draws near. Excitement, enthusiasm, and solidarity Evident everywhere Wearing red shirts with pride on the factory floor. Instructions come from above “Empty the lines, Tarp the parts, And sweep the floors.” Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. It’s all part of a strategic plan. A fight against corporate greed We stand up in solidarity. Our plants not chosen For this round of the strategic strike. We wait for our turn. Confusion, disappointment, and disbelief On the weary faces Of the brothers and sisters, United auto workers in this labor war. We wait our turn in this fight A chance to battle for our fair share. Mary Lee A mother of three, With a college degree, but is still a four-year TPT Wonders if they will fight for me When all is said and done. “Where is Mother Jones When I need her?” Back to work, Instructions from management “Start the lines.” Betty Sue is 72 And oh, so tired. She grabs the drill With her frail aged spotted hands. Uncertainty in the sweat filled air. Tap, clang, clunk, The sounds of rubber mallets hitting against metal. Flick, raffle swish, The presses forcing air Applying pressure Drills spinning, and clicking. Enthusiasm evaporating Replaced with silence voices This chance has come and gone Tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock We have to hold the line Because we are union-strong (Mother Jones was an Irish-born labor organizer in the 1930s. Once earned the title the “Most dangerous woman in America.” From 1902-1904.)
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.
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