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Ruby McDonald (1917-2011) was the wife of a Flint, Michigan auto worker.


"The campaign for the GAW [guaranteed annual wage] was spearheaded by the powerful auto workers' union, the UAW. The plan was developed in 1954 and 1955 and reached a climax at the UAW Convention in April, 1955. Joe Glazer reports: 'At the request of UAW leaders, I tried for months to write a GAW song which could be used in the campaign, but I could not get it to come out right. Then just before the UAW Convention, Ruby McDonald, the talented wife of a Flint auto worker, sent me a song which had exactly the right feel. I worked it over a bit and came up with the 'Song of the Guaranteed Wage,' set to the tune of 'Sweet Betsy from Pike.' I introduced it to the twenty-five hundred delegates at the Convention and it was received enthusiastically.' In an historic down-to-the-wire battle with the Ford Corporation, the UAW won a form of the GAW without a strike in 1955. Soon after, unions in steel, rubber, glass, and other industires won similar guarantees in their contracts. Those plans, usually called 'Supplemental Unemployment Benefits' (SUB),...provide greater security for the worker."

—Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, Songs of Work and Freedom (1960)


Song of the Guaranteed Wage (with Joe Glazer)


 

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