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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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#Sidney's Picks: Walmart Sued By Temps; Hyatt Housekeepers Tracked with iPods; Compounding Pharmacies Probed

  • Walmart is being sued by temporary workers who say the retailer forced them to arrive for work early, stay late, and work through lunch in violation of wage and hour laws.
  • Housekeepers at Hyatt hotels have filed a complaint with the NLRB about the digital tracking system their employer uses to monitor their productivity. Each cleaner carries an iPod touch that tells her which room to clean. To add insult to injury, the software's signature graphic is a tail-wagging pooch. "We do run around like dogs, but still, we're not dogs,” said cleaner Cathy Youngblood.
  • The FDA tried to investigate compounding pharmacies before tainted steroids infected hundreds of people with meningitis, but lobbyists for the compounding pharmacy industry stonewalled FDA investigators. 
  • Past Sidney winner Duff Wilson and reporting partner Adam Kerlin continue Reuters' coverage of the obesity crisis, exposing how the food and beverage industry pays for seats at the global health policy table.

[Photo credit: Wandermule, Creative Commons.]


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