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It’s the Race to the Bottom (Paulette Meier © 2004, 2nd verse © 2011, ASCAP)
“Asked to sing at the American Federation of Government Employees rally to oppose privatization of government jobs in 2004, I couldn’t find a song specific to this issue, so I wrote one. In 2011, when public employees’ bargaining rights were under attack in Ohio, I revived the song and added a verse about teachers. The video we made of it lent support in successfully overturning the anti-union legislation.” -- Paulette

You can watch the video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsgjUl1kQT0

lyrics

It’s the Race to the Bottom
music and lyrics by Paulette Meier © 2004 Verse 3 @2011

1. I had a job working nine to five,
The pay was ok,I didn’t struggle to survive,
Ten more years of filing records all day,
With a good pension plan, I could make it all the way,
Then the county decided to privatize;
Contracted out my job right before my eyes.
Well now I’m doin’ the same ol’ job, but with
much lower pay, and my pension got robbed.
And now there’s no union to stand up for me;
It’s much harder now to build solidarity.
‘When..

Chorus:
It’s the race to the bottom.
It’s the race to the bottom.
It’s the race to the bottom,
Where labor costs are lowest, corporate profits rise sky high.

2. I’ve been a teacher most of my life.
I love those children; wanna do them right.
But they’re 35 kids, with all different needs,
Meetings galore and parents to please.
I work twelve hours most every day,
But still we had to bargain to cut our pay.
And now they’ve outlawed our right to negotiate,
You can bet I’ll see my class size rise to forty-eight.
It’s the kids who will suffer, who will bear the cost,
And over time, we’ll see how much we’ve lost
When ……

Chorus
It’s the race to the bottom.
It’s the race to the bottom.
It’s the race to the bottom,
Where they’re cuttin’ public service while private profits rise,

3. I lost my job at age 42.
My husband said, “Hon, you’ve got to train for something new.
So I went back to school so I could study I.T.
Then I got a good job in public energy.
But within a year the word came down,
They privatized my job and sent it India bound,
Where they’re training those workers to speak differently,
So we can understand them more easily,
Those hypocrites say “Support the USA,”
But when it comes to jobs, they send them all away
When….

Final Chorus:
It’s the race to the bottom.
It’s the race to the bottom.
It’s the race to the bottom,
Where labor costs are lowest, corporate profits rise sky high.
Yeah, where they’re cutting public service while private profits rise,
Where they’re out to bust the unions and take away the workers’ rights.
Where they pay the lowest taxes and their riches multiply.
Where labor costs are lowest, corporate profits rise sky high.’
Where they’re cutting public service while private profits rise.

NOTE: This song was first written for the Association of Federal Government Employees union to protest the privatization of government jobs. It was revised to address the attack on public employee unions waged by Ohio Gov. Kasich with Senate Bill 5, which was ultimately defeated by referendum. You can view a video montage with this song, produced by documentarian Barbara Wolf at: www.paulettemeier.com

credits

from Just Earth, released January 1, 2017
Paulette Meier: words, music, lead vocals; Jamie Fota: harmony vocals, guitar, Len Webb: trumpet, John Mooter: keyboard, trombone, Marcia Gallas, drums

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