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

New Study Lifts Curtain on Domestic Work

Domestic workers labor behind closed doors, and sometimes off the books. As a result, basic facts about their circumstances are shrouded in mystery. Who are they? How much do they earn? What are their working conditions like? A report released today offers the first detailed statistical profile of America's domestic workforce, Steven Greenhouse reports. 

The report, co-authored by a professor and an advocate for domestic workers, is based on interviews with 2,086 workers in 14 major metropolitan areas. Like 800,000 other domestic workers in America, the interview subjects were paid directly by the families they worked for, not by outside agencies. Interviews were conducted in 9 languages and respondents hailed from 71 different countries. 

The median wage for domestic workers $11 an hour for nannies and $10 an hour for caregivers and housekeepers. Nannies who were citizens had a higher median wage than their undocumented counterparts. Live-in domestic workers earned far less than those living outside the home. Domestic workers are not covered by federal minimum wage laws. 

Fringe benefits were almost non-existent. Sixty-five percent of the workers said they had no health insurance; just 4% said they were insured through their employer. 

Data like these will help legislators craft better laws to protect domestic workers. 


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

RT @nymagPR: 35 women tell their stories of being assaulted by Bill Cosby. A project 6 months in the making http://t… 1 day 12 hours ago
Sidney's Picks: New York Fast Food Workers Win Fight for Fifteen! 4 days 12 hours ago
RT @rinkuwrites: Great series by Brian Palmer & Erin Hollaway Palmer. Part 1 of many here. Race Trips: Confederate Lies & Apple Pie http://… 6 days 7 hours ago
Larry Lessig on Fixing Campaign Finance: 1 week 9 hours ago
The Skid Row Life and Death of Charly Keunang | GQ 1 week 9 hours ago