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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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Unions Win Big on Ballot Measures

On election night, unions won key ballot measure battles, Matthew Cunningham-Cook reports for the Nation:

  • California voters approved Prop 30, a measure to raise $6 billion for education. The passage of Prop 30 is a repudiation of Prop 13, the notorious 1978 ballot measure that starved the California school system for decades.
  • Californians rejected Prop 32, which would have limited the ability of unions to participate in politics.
  • Idaho voters rejected a series of ballot measures that would have eliminated teacher tenure, established "merit pay," and required all Idaho secondary students to take two for-profit online courses in order to graduate.
  • In Oregon, unions mobilized to help defeat a ballot measure that would have eliminated the inheritance tax.
  • Alabamians defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that could have eliminated the state's guarantee of a free public education for all students.

[Photo credit: quinn.anya, Creative Commons.


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