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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.

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Fast Food Forward: Times Square Rally Photos

Some 200 fast food workers walked off the job at restaurants around New York City on Thursday as part of the largest-ever drive to organize this industry. Fast Food Forward, the umbrella group behind yesterday's action, is a joint effort by unions, community groups, religious leaders, and other concerned citizens. 

I'd estimate that the Times Square rally drew about 200-300 people at its peak, but that's a very rough estimate. 

The workers are demanding a raise to $15.00 an hour, an end to retaliation for organizing, and respect on the job. The median wage for fast food workers in New York City is about $9 an hour, but many in this sector are scraping by on the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Hence the catchphrase of yesterday's action: "Can't survive on $7.25."

Scenes from Fast Food Forward's rally in Times Square. (Click thumbnails to view full-sized images.) 

A speaker addresses the crowd outside McDonald's in Times Square. 

Strike rats! 

[Photo credits: Lindsay Beyerstein, all rights reserved.]

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