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

Sidney's Picks: Scott Walker, Mass Graves, and Threats

The Best of the Week's NewsContinue reading...

Shortlists Announced for the 2014 PEN Literary Awards

The shortlists for the PEN Literary Awards have been announced. PEN awards recognize excellence in many different kinds of writing, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translation, and the literary essay. Finalists for the prize for outstanding essay collection include feminist writer Rebecca Solnit and cultural critic James Wolcott.Continue reading...

Korean Restaurant Workers Say They Were Forced to "Volunteer" as Farm Workers

Kum Gang San, a popular Korean restaurant in New York City, is accused of blackmailing employees into unpaid labor with threats of deportation, Sukjong Hong reports for Gothamist:Continue reading...

Walmart Shrimp Succored by Slave Labor

A widely-exported line of farmed shrimp from Thailand is fed on fishmeal made by slave labor, a six-month investigation by the Guardian has revealed:Continue reading...

California Grocery Workers Struggle to Buy Food

Grocery workers in California are twice as likely as the average Californian to be unable to afford to buy food: 

One out of three grocery workers in California is receiving some type of public assistance while one in five rations the food he or she helps sell, according to a new report that laments the industry's diminishing standing as a source of stable, middle-class jobs.Continue reading...

#Sidney's Picks: VT Childcare Workers Win Right to Unionize

The Best of the Week's NewsContinue reading...

The Great American Chain Gang

There are 870,000 inmates in the United States' prison workforce. These inmates have virtually no rights at work. Prisoners typically earn less than a dollar an hour, and most of them work at keeping their own prisons running. If all the work of running prisons were paid at minimum wage, prison wouldn't be nearly as profitable as it currently is. Continue reading...


Recent Tweets

A carnation for each worker lost in the 1911 #Triangle Factory Fire 1 day 16 hours ago
We Are All Workers: Remembering the Triangle Fire. Event today 11:30 at Wash Pl & Greene St: 1 day 19 hours ago
RT @philipsturner: For tweeps who hadn't noticed—@TorontoStar won a @SidneyHillman award for their reporting on the scandal over the former… 6 days 14 hours ago
RT @philipsturner: Link to vid of @TorontoStar journos getting @SidneyHillman award for @CBCRadioQ scandal coverage… 6 days 14 hours ago
#Sidney's Picks: Outdated NYC Knife Law Jails Union Workers for their Tools: @VillageVoice @JonCampbellGAN 6 days 17 hours ago