“The Picket Line Blues”


"Com all my friends if you want to know And I'll tell you about the C.I.O.... I'll tell you about the Ashland Strike." The workers picket, and some are arrested; the singer says he will not be discouraged, even though "I've got them picket line blues"


1937 is listed by Thomas as the date of the strike mentioned in this song. This is supported by internal evidence: The song mentions the Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act), which legally protected collective bargaining; it was passed in 1935 and declared constitutional by the Supreme Court in 1937.

John L. Lewis (the "John L." of the song) originally served as president of the United Mine Workers, then came into the AFL as chief of the Committee for Industrial Organizations. This group proved too radical for the AFL, and so was expelled in 1937, whereupon Lewis remade it as the Congress of Industrial Organizations. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Thomas-Makin', pp. 238-239, "The Picket Line Blues" (1 text)
  2. BI, ThBa128


Author: Bunyan Day
Earliest date: 1939 (Thomas)
Found in: US(Ap)