The Waterford Strike (Lehr and Best)

'Twas over at the Waterford
now just one month ago,
For pension rights to fit their jobs
the staff on strike did go,
And out to man the picket lines
went guys and gals alike,
All knew they'd soon be needed -
it would be a short-lived strike.

But then up through their picket lines
the 'Meter Maids' all came,
Union members every one -
they crossed through just the same
To do the jobs of those on strike
and leave them without power,
With nothing left to bargain with -
this is NAPE's darkest hour.

With management and cops inside,
the strikers on the line,
Bill Doody says he'll never budge,
no changes will he sign -
He swears the Waterford compares
with the General or the Grace,
But he needs cops to do their jobs
to take the strikers place.

It's Civil Service Hockey time -
the cops and boys in red,
Are playing in the finals
with the 'fuzz' one game ahead;
The fans include a number
from the Waterford to cheer,
And hope the 'fire boys'
can beat Bill Doody's scabs this year.

And win they do, a shut one,
they put six in past the cops,
Who take the loss with such poor grace
that gloves and sticks are dropped;
The fans are treated to the sight
of sportsmanship outlawed -
Those big, brave cops won't leave
the rink without their riot squad!!!

Yes, three cars and the paddy wagon
jammed with riot gear,
Forty to arrest one union man
who is in the clear.
Dozens in their helmets
to escort their beaten chums;
Respect for them died on the spot -
they proved they're 'Doody's Chums.'

So now each day at eight and four,
and midnight for new shifts,
The riot boys are there in force
all swinging billy sticks.
Then paydays those 'scab dollars' flow
with cops all 'round the place,
They're even shakin' paycheques
in a union member's face!

'Tis sad to see it come to this,
the bitterness will last
Long after Doody gets some sense,
and striking days are past.
The Union guys and gals who lost,
their families did without,
Will long remember Hawco's boys
inside while they were OUT.

The Union feels they have the right
to fight for what is just -
We live in a democracy
where freedom is a must;
If they aren't doing jobs
the equal of the 'boys in blue,'
Why aren't the nurses left
to handle patients 'til it's through?.

So now the cops keep order,
and they're taking home the pay
Of fellow Union members,
but I hope to see the day
When Hawco and his 'Doody boys'
are striking then we'll see
The guys they crossed at Waterford
will all be cops - FOR FREE!!!

####.... Anthony Ward [1927-1999] of South East Bight and St John's, NL, and friends, 1977 ....####
This song was collected in 1979 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best from the composer, Anthony Ward [1927-1999] of South East Bight and St John's, NL, published as #117 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, p.199, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press ©1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this song was composed by Anthony Ward and a group of friends about the 1977 strike by employees of the Waterford Hospital in St John's. The strike lasted four months.

See more Lehr and Best songs.

¹ NAPE - Newfoundland Association of Public Employees (N.A.P.E.)
² Waterford Hospital - The St John's Mental Disease Care Hospital.


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