Before I enlisted in the Navy, I worked at a dozen different food establishments- mostly restaurants, but a couple of resorts and bakeries too. It was good work when I was young. It carried a skill that was easily transferrable wherever I happen to live.
One particular hotel that I applied to work at required that I join a union. I was badly in need of a job, so I wordlessly accepted their rules. For some reason, I think I paid $38 a month for the privilege. I also remember meeting the union representative right when I started working the job. She was a surly, fat lady who had me sign some documents that I hardly read.
It was at a point in my life when I was working breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make the ends meet. I would get home at eleven at night and turn around and start my day at four. For two meals, I worked at the hotel and for dinner I drove across town and worked at a fine dining restaurant. It was oppressive, but I punched through and did it for a time, before settling back to working just the restaurant. When you have to pay rent, you have to pay rent. Did the union ever do anything for me other than take my money? Hell no.
Dropkick Murphys have been known for supporting working class and union causes, and have a strong relationship with the AFL-CIO. The band has said that they are all Democrats, and during the 2004 United States presidential election were part of Punkvoter, a political activist group dedicated to defeating George W. Bush. That year they also appeared on the Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2 compilation contributing the song “We Got the Power”.
On February 22, 2011, in support of Wisconsin workers’ rights, the band released their song “Take ‘Em Down” from the album “Going Out In Style” on their website along with creating a limited edition “Take ‘Em Down” t-shirt which will benefit the Workers’ Rights Emergency Response Fund. Two days later on the MSNBC news show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, “Take ‘Em Down” was used as an intro song to a news story on the Wisconsin workers protest.
On Saturday August 13, 2011, Dropkick Murphys issued a statement of solidarity with the 45,000 Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on strike from Verizon Communications, Inc
You know what, I decided I didn’t want the song. Or I’m Shipping Up to Boston, either.