Skip to Content
Skip to Navigation

Clear it with SidneyHow our blog got its name >

 
Notes on journalism for the common good
by Lindsay Beyerstein

How our blog got its name

Sidney Hillman was a powerful national figure during the Great Depression, a key supporter of the New Deal, and a close ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

When the rumor spread that President Roosevelt ordered his party leaders to “clear it with Sidney” before announcing Harry S. Truman as his 1944 running mate, conservative critics turned on the phrase, trumpeting it as proof that the president was under the thumb of “Big Labor.”

Over the years, the phrase lost its sting and became a testament to Hillman's influence.

It's hard to imagine a labor leader wielding that kind clout today, but we like the idea—and we hope Sidney would give thumbs up to our blog.

Close window

Build Bridges, Not Fortresses: Bruce Raynor and Andy Stern on Fortress Unionism

Rich Yeselson's essay "Fortress Unionism" has generated intense debate about the future of the American labor movement. Yeselson argues that an aggressive organizing strategy is futile as long as the working class remains apathetic. He recommends that unions focus on existing areas of strength until the working class is once again ready to organize en masse.  

As longtime International Presidents of national unions, we were moved to respond to Yeselson. Our essay, "Build Bridges, Not Fortresses," appears in the latest issue of Democracy. Labor can't afford to wait for a golden historical moment. Instead, we propose five things unions can do right now to lift more workers into the middle class:

  • Invest union pension funds strategically to create jobs
  • Advance pro-worker legislation 
  • Make alliances with willing employers to create union jobs 
  • Push for reforms to enable unions to provide staffing and other services to corporations without a collective bargaining agreement
  • Consider new forms of membership and participation for workers

Let the discussion continue, it matters. 

 

-Bruce Raynor and Andrew L. Stern

 

[Photo credit: Sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge, davidyuweb, Creative Commons.]

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.
 
 

Recent Tweets

Is that a media dangle, or are you just happy to see me? FBI agt poses as journo to nab suspect: http://t.co/FrvjOXyHXO 8 hours 32 min ago
#Sidney's Picks: Walmart's Hunger Games; FBI's Stupid Reporter Trick: http://t.co/FrvjOXyHXO 8 hours 33 min ago
The Rape Accusations Against Bill Cosby Must Not Be Ignored - The Atlantic http://t.co/nszbOXAc3S 1 day 3 hours ago
"Obama calculates the human cost of deportations" by @SidneyHillman judge @HaroldMeyerson: http://t.co/AaKGalJJZB 1 day 3 hours ago
Serial creators don't know what will happen to Adnan Syed: http://t.co/BZqg2zgHjD 2 days 3 hours ago