"Our Patients Lie Under the Covers" (MNA Picket in Pittsfiled, MA)

To the tune of “My Bonnie lies over the Ocean”.

Version A) Better performance: This performance took place on Saturday April 7, 2018 at the Labor Notes conference in Chicago. I sang during the nurses meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aywW9w9I1hA&list=PLCZd4eJIEobhmBucxr-2HWOa5fYd9bUFr&index=3&t=0s

Version B) Better Recording: This performance took place in Pittsfield on February 26, 2018 at a Vigil for Patient Safety organized by the Massachusetts Nurses Association outside the Berkshire Medical Center: https://www.facebook.com/bengrosscupmusic/videos/830821700452028/


Our patients lie under the covers
Our patients lie under the sheets.
Our bosses lie over and over.
So nurses are taking the streets.

Bring in, bring in
Bring in more nurses to care in there
Bring in, bring in
Bring in more nurses in there

Last night I was working the third shift
Last night my co-worker was sick
Last night I was left with ten patients
My boss said to make my work quick

Our bosses get high compensation
By making the staff schedules lean
Our patience becomes desperation
When high patient loads are routine

We try to help patients be healthy
We know that should be the main goal
But making this industry wealthy
Is taking one hell of a toll

Our state should be like California
Where safe patient limits are law
Don’t tell us that we never warned ya
Of dangers that we long foresaw

There’s too many patients each hour
That bosses expect us to see
If we don’t exert union power
Who will care when the patient is me?

  • Ben Grosscup wrote the parody.
  • Ben Grosscup
    Name of Band or Artist
  • Ben Grosscup
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Music Video
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 8 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
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Director Biography

BEN GROSSCUP leads songs on picket lines and at union meetings to agitate for workers’ power on the job. Drawing upon activist folk singing traditions, he brings new songs to the places where they are most relevant. He works with unions and other social justice organizations to raise political consciousness while singing together for a common purpose. The unions he has sung for include: Massachusetts Nurses Association; Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals; United Nurses and Allied Professionals; New York State Nurses Association; Massachusetts Teachers Association; United Food and Commercial Workers, Locals 1459 abnd 919; and SEIU Local 509. He performs a wide range of politically inspired music—much of it original. He is working on his debut CD release.
Based in Greenfield, MA, Ben serves as Executive Director of People’s Music Network (www.peoplesmusic.org), a diverse community of singers, artists, activists and allies that cultivates music and cultural work as catalysts for a just and peaceful world.

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Director Statement

I write and adapt songs and lead them on picket lines to give workers a chance to experience the power of group singing for building union and community solidarity.
Much of my work as a picket line song leader has been with nurses unions. Nurses already know about systemic staffing and safety problems at hospitals from their daily experience, but they rarely hear a song that directly addresses those problems. So I bring it to them in the moments where they are mobilized in collective action.
Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger, Charlie King, Anne Feeney and others are among the activist folksingers who developed the tradition I follow in. It is a tradition where workers sing together to amplify their political and economic power.