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.
Jerry Brown Vetoes Farm Worker Safety Bills
California governor Jerry Brown struck a blow for heat-related death this week, vetoing legislation that could have saved the lives of farm workers:
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Two farm worker safety bills that target growers and labor contractors, subjecting them to lawsuits, criminal charges and stiff penalties have been vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.
SB 2346 would have allowed farm workers to enforce the state's heat regulations themselves by suing employers who fail more than twice to comply with mandatory shade and drinking water requirements.
AB 2676 would have made it a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by jail and fines of up to $200,000 if appropriate water or shade are not provided.
Employers could also pay restitution of up to $1 million to the worker's family. [23ABC News]
Activists brought a sheep to the capitol on Tuesday to drive home the message that livestock have more protections in California than farm workers.
Brown also vetoed legislation to make domestic workers eligible for overtime pay.
[Photo credit: Ambersky235, Creative Commons.]