The 1917 lumber strike changed the outcast, blanket-toting timberbeast into a highly respected lumber worker welcomed anywhere. No other strike in history has so transformed life styles. The demands that did this were won by job action after military repressions made it advisable for IWW to call the walkout off, seemingly defeated.
Fifty-thousand lumberjacks, fifty thousand packs,
Fifty-thousand dirty rolls of blankets on their backs.
Fifty-thousand minds made up to strike and strike like men;
For fifty years they've packed a bed, but never will again.
"Such a lot of devils'" -that's what the papers say -
"They've gone on strike for shorter hours and some increase in pay:
They left the camps, the lazy tramps, they all walked out as one;
They say they'll win the strike or put the bosses on the bum.
Fifty thousand wooden bunks full of things that crawl;
Fifty thousand restless men have left them once for all, '
One by one they dared not say "Fat, the hours are long."
If they did they'd hike - but now they're fifty thousand strong.
Take a tip and start right in; plan some cozy rooms,
Six or eight spring beds in each, with towels, sheets, and brooms,
Shower baths for men who work keep them well and fit,
A laundry, too, and drying room would help a little bit.