#TMCtogether: A collection of solidarity poems

Milton Simmons is the Triangle of Prevention (TOP) representative at United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 9-675, representing members at 3M in Guin, Ala. Simmons is also an active worker-trainer for the Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC) with experience in TOP courses, Incident Investigation, Near-Miss Prevention and more. Simmons shared his solidarity poems with us in order to add to our #TMCtogether initiative, which aims to being us all together even though we are apart during the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you, Milt!

United Steelworker Proud

Sweat, blood, and long hours – will it end?
Death, mutilation, pain and for little pay,
Not much quality of life is it my friend?
Safety? What safety, I just hope to live another day.

Working hard is a family tradition, in my genetics as is dying,
But I long for my children to have a life better than me.
The company says, “We will take care of you.” – are they lying?
A job well done, pat on the back, but crippled in old age looks like what I will see.

For generations this cycle has ran its course,
Long hours, for my family, how I wish to do better,
But stuck in this never ending circle of bad to worse,
A broken down man, - I can see how it will end down to the letter.

A Union! Did I hear correctly? I now know there is hope,
Is it true? United Steelworkers we are to vote,
Is it a dream that maybe I am not at the end of my rope,
I hear that a brave group has met, a list they wrote.

A list of change, a list for safety no less,
A list of demands, benefits and better pay,
YES is the vote, a brotherhood and sisterhood, Unity for progress,
Thank you United Steelworkers, it is now a better day!


What good is the Union, you might ask
I know my company has my best interest at heart
Could there be something dark behind their mask?
I say the company is the ultimate thespian playing a villainess part
The bottom line and in profits the company will bask
The Union has an answer to this question at hand
Strength in numbers is comfort they say
Solidarity is the battle yell, worker’s rights is the cry across the land
Empowerment at our feet will lay
From struggles of warriors’ past
Brotherhood – Sisterhood, we come together as one
On mounts of sweat, blood and tears will forever last
Steelworkers will battle, the work is never done
The weak will say, Activism is for the others you know
The strong will answer with action and a plan
United Steelworkers empowered with knowledge to grow
To fight for our rights – United WE Stand!
Safety, training, and knowledge is power
We will own it, and show it as our decree
Our time has come, it is our finest hour
United Steelworkers roots are deep as a trusty ole oak tree
To the future of the United Steelworkers I offer up a toast
We will climb the mountain side by side, we will continue the fight
I hope to one day see Solidarity from coast to coast
My prayer is for all workers to see the light.


His hands were stained from oil and grease
His tired eyes each day found new life as he walked through the door
Long days that seemed to never end, longing for home, there to find peace
Is there a better way or is the notion but lore?
As a boy I wondered when his overtime would cease
Too young to understand that because of his love, he wanted us to have more
Dad was excited one evening, that I will never forget
Daylight he exclaimed, could be seen at the end of a dark, dreary tunnel
The United Steelworkers visited with them, they all had met
The refinery’s duress would soon be null
A contract would mean that I would have my father back
Better wages, better hours, better benefits, and better safety for sure
The company will counter, but The United Steelworkers will take no flak
The Union will be my family’s cure
My mother’s worry for dad’s safety was leaving her tired brow
The road would be hard, but the workers wouldn’t be alone
Many years have passed as I look back and think, wished dad could see me now
In his footsteps I followed, a shift steward, a United Steelworker to the bone
A good day’s wage, a safe place to work, to home in one piece I return
My son now greets me as I once greeted my dad
A better life for me, I know in my father’s heart did burn
To see his posterity, I know his heart would now be glad.

Photo: TOP Representative Leadership training facilitated by Milton Simmons in 2019 (Milt is pictured on the left in yellow)