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.
Politicking, Free Speech, and Social Media at Koch Industries
Koch Industries has become a byword for outsized corporate campaign contributions and right wing activism. As Mike Elk reports for In These Times, the politicking doesn't stop at the workplace door. Forty-five thousand employees of Georgia Pacific, a Koch subsidiary, received a mailer listing Koch's slate of endorsed candidates, starting with Mitt Romney.
Corporate campaign spending is often justified as free speech. Unfortunately, Georgia Pacific does not extend the same consideration to its employees, even in their off hours. According to the company's draconian new social media policy, which is currently the subject of an NLRB complaint, workers can be fired if they post anything that might reflect badly on Georgia Pacific. Some Georgia Pacific workers in Oregon posed for a photo with a Democratic state senate candidate outside their union hall, with a Georgia Pacific sign in the background. The candidate's name did not appear in the Koch mailer. Now they're worried they'll be fired under the new social media policy if the image finds its way online.
Elk shared a 2011 Sidney Award for an investigation of the American Legislative Exchange Council.