The Organizer in the Cap
A Union Parody of the Cat in the Hat
I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two. And I said, “How I wish We had something we could do!”
Book selling for a living Wasn’t paying the rent Our health care too expensive We just had to vent.
Borders said all we could do was Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! And we did not like it. Not one little bit.
And then Something went BUMP! How that bump made us jump!
We looked! Then we saw her, like waking from a nap! We looked! And we saw her! The Organizer in the Cap! And she said to us, “Why do you sit there, hands on your lap?”
“I know it’s not easy And life at Borders not always sunny. But you deserve to have Health care and a bit more money!”
“I know a good way, like a map, that will give you your voice,” said the Organizer in the Cap. “These are not tricks. I will show them to you. Organizing is your legal right We’ll go step by step, ‘cause it’s new.”
Then Sally and I Did not know what to say. After all, our Manager was out, Gone for the day.
But our co-worker said, “No! No! Make the Organizer go away! Tell that Organizer in the Cap You do NOT want to play. She should not be here. She should not be about. She should not be here When our Manager is out!”
“Now! Now! I know your fear. But don’t believe Borders’ rap. A Booksellers’ Union is not bad,” Said the Organizer in the Cap. “Why, do you know what members have? Livable wages and actual health care, Imagine: guaranteed hours, A workplace voice, if you dare!” “Leave me alone!” said the co-worker. “This is no fun at all! Leave me alone!” said the co-worker. “I am afraid I will fall!”
“Have no fear!” said the Organizer. “We will not let you down. You can all stand up high Energizing other workers in town. And since it’s Your Union, It’s your leadership we’ll tap, Your destiny is up to you,” Said the Organizer in the Cap.
“Look at me! Look at me now!” I said. “With a little hard work We’ll overcome whatever we dread. Organizing is our right, It’s legally guaranteed, What do we have to lose? Let’s go Union and bargain our needs.
“It’s false, when Borders’ says: ‘Unions only want your dues,’ We don’t pay ‘til we have our contract, That’s the honest, real news! But that’s not all! Oh, no. That’s not all…
“Listen to me! Listen to me! Listen to me NOW! We can have tons of fun organizing But we need to know how. I can talk to the morning shift, Sally can cover those stacking shelves, We can all do this together And make life better for ourselves! I can hold a worker meeting After hours and on our breaks, We can all do this together, Make life better for everyone’s sakes! I can fuel our Union fires, United, we’ll all stand tall, But that’s not all! Oh, no. That’s not all…”
“We want to represent and protect you,” Said our Organizer, who knew what to do. We signed authorization cards, Protecting us as we stand so tall, Our Union protects us, Sally and I, When non-represented workers start to fall.
Just then, my co-worker came up, Oh my, she wished she’d fought. She said, “I do not like this. Oh no! I do not. I was terminated without cause,” Said my co-worker in a fit. “No, I do not like it. Not one little bit!
“Now look what you did!” My co-worker exclaimed. “Without a Union contract,” Our Organizer explained, “Employers can fire at will, And with no Union contract, Your options are nil! As part of a Booksellers Union, You’d have representation. They’d work to get your job back, They’d do it without hesitation.”
“I used to like working here. Oh, I liked it a lot,” Said my co-worker who realized, Friendly, neighborhood booksellers they’re not!
“I will NOT go away. I do NOT wish to go!” My co-worker told our Organizer, “But you didn’t sign a card, So… You weren’t eligible for protection, Which is a game ‘Corporate’ knows!”
Borders’ Corporate is slippery, They’re fast as a fox, They like to put workers out To place the Union in a box.
“I’ll tell my story to others, I know it has a good hook, I’ll talk up the Union,” said my co-worker, “Tell them: take a look!”
Our Organizer stood up to speak And said with a tip of her cap, “It’s time to crank up this campaign, We need to give Corporate a zap! I’ll call in reinforcements To help us organize now, Combined with the workers’ power Corporate will be forced to bow!
“Let’s pick up the pace, Let’s try something new, Two things. And I call them Organizer One and Organizer Two. These Organizers will not bite you, But will put Borders on the run.” Then the door flung open to reveal Organizer Two and Organizer One! And they ran to us fast, They said, “How do you do? Would you like to shake hands With Organizer One and Organizer Two?”
And Sally and I Excited at what we could do, Couldn’t wait to shake hands With Organizer One and Organizer Two. We shook their two hands. Now, no co-worker said, “No! No! Those Organizers should not be In this store! Make them go!”
We understand we need Our Union While our Manager is out. We understand we want Our Union And United, we workers have clout.
And though it was not easy, We got most everyone to sign; Our authorization cards in order Everything started to fall into line. Borders started to play hardball. Corporate forced Managers to be mean, One on one meetings to intimidate, Misinformation few of us had seen.
Through it all, we remained rock solid, Relying on Organizers’ instincting… Each foul move Borders enacted, Our Union was predicting.
“No! Not in this store!” Corporate made our Managers say. Our election was a resounding “Yes!” And it just made our whole day! Oh, the election made Borders jump! Oh, they threw a big fit. Oh, Borders did not like it! Not one little bit!”
Then Sally and I Witnessed a Borders “no-“gotiation, With all the chips on the table, We’re glad for our Union association. We’d ask for health care, All we heard were emphatic “No!s” We’d mention livable wages… Borders viewed us as foes.
Thinking Sally and I would get bored, Borders stalled with all their might. They never imagined We’d be so united in our fight. Our struggle was hard to miss, Other Borders workers took note, Our dedication was unwavering, After our hard-earned vote!
We started a movement, Sally and I. We started a movement. Workers’ movements can’t die!
Then unorganized workers came up And they said to us two, “We want your Union to help us! Tell me. What can we do?”
And Sally and I Knew just what to say. We decided to tell them All about our Union that day!
We told of our struggle, We relayed how we found our voice. We walked them through the process, We told them, “You do have a choice!” You can remain unorganized, With your destiny in another’s hand. Or you can join, in solidarity, The workers’ movement sweeping the land.
Whether to go Union, It’s all up to you. The decision to go Union, What would YOU do? Well… What would YOU do If another worker asked YOU?
Solidarity! The Organizer in the Cap (aka, Karmen Lee Ortloff)