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.
Clear It With Sidney
As part of the 103rd Commemoration of the Triangle Factory Fire in Manhattan, yesterday, a fire truck demonstrated how a ladder couldn't reach the upper floors of the burning factory, forcing workers to jump to their deaths. One hundred and forty-six workers died that day. The outrage over the Triangle Fire helped usher in a new era of workers' rights and occupational health and safety.
Video by Alexandra Lescaze.
Today: Tuesday, March 25, Noon-1pm.
Washington Place & Greene St. in Manhattan (the site of the Triangle Fire)
This evening: 5:30pm
Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. if you’d like to attend!
Tune in tonight at 10pm Eastern to see Hillman Executive Director Alexandra Lescaze's new documentary, "All of Me," a revealing look at how weight-loss surgery is changing the lives of women in a fat acceptance group in Austin, Texas. "The Girls," as they call themselves, have been supporting each other as fat women for decades. One by one, longtime members are peeling off to have surgery, with very mixed results.
The spate of surgeries forces The Girls to reassess their friendships, their priorities, and even their marriages. "All of Me" uses these women's stories of weight-loss surgery to examine universal themes like friendship, sexuality, and the nature of self-acceptance.
Whether you think weight-loss-surgery is mutilation or liberation, "All of Me" will make you reconsider your position.
"All of Me" premieres Monday, March 24 at 10pm Eastern on PBS's Independent Lens, TV's leading showcase of independent documentary film.
The Best of the Week's News
- A teenager is facing life in prison because she tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine after her baby was born dead from an obstetrical complication.
- Chris Christie's cronies are managing state pension funds and taking big risks.
- Bowles-Simpson icon grudgingly admits he was wrong.
- Texas college student fatally shot by police was hit in the back, autopsy reveals.
- Wall Street Journal raves for All of Me a weight-loss surgery documentary that premieres on Monday at 10pm Eastern on PBS's Independent Lens.
[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]
Fun fact: Utah has no campaign contribution limits. None. That's one reason it was so easy for a payday loan tycoon to capture the Attorney General and turn Utah's top law enforcement officer into a rubber stamp for the usury industry.
[Photo credit: robad0b, Creative Commons.]
On March 19, The Sidney Hillman Foundation recognized outstanding contributions to Canadian journalism at a ceremony in Toronto, Ontario. Karen Kleiss and Darcy Henton shared the fourth annual Canadian Hillman Prize for their expose of child deaths in foster care in Alberta. Gabrielle Duchaine and Caroline Touzin and their team of data journalists garnered an honorable mention for their series exposing deadly defects in the roads of Quebec. A team of journalists from The Province recieved an honorable mention for their multimedia series on racism in British Columbia.
See the Sidney Hillman facebook page for more photos of last night's event.
[Photo: Winner Karen Kleiss with Hillman Foundation president Bruce Raynor.]
A private research group's analysis of federal crash safety data links faulty GM airbags to 303 deaths, the New York Times reports. GM has acknowledged 12 deaths from faulty air bags in 2005-7 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2003-7 Saturn Ions, and four other models. The company announced last month that it was recalling 1.6 million cars worldwide because of a defective air bag switch.
[Photo credit: Jm3, Creative Commons.]
The Best of the Week's News:
- Diane Feinstein calls out the CIA for spying on the Senate.
- Care before profit: Nurses get creative to save Brooklyn hospitals.
- What really happened to Ibragim Todashev, the mixed martial arts fighter shot in FBI custody?
- A Florida trauma center has a $32,000 cover charge: bottle service, valet parking, and medical treatment not included.
- Workers file wage-theft lawsuits against McDonald's in three states.
[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]
Moshe Marvit, an attorney and writer with the Century Foundation, wins the March Sidney Award for his Nation magazine profile of the hidden world of crowdworkers, digital pieceworkers who earn an average of $2-$3 an hour at home, performing repetitive “microtasks,” such as transcribing words from photographs, analyzing snippets of text, and judging whether images are pornographic. Nobody knows exactly how many of these workers exist, but millions of people in the United States and around the world do crowdwork at least part time.
Crowdwork customers range from large companies like Twitter to individual web surfers. Brokerages like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and CrowdFlower bring buyers and sellers together and take a cut of the action.
Wage theft is rampant in the industry and discrimination is practiced openly because crowdworkers are independent contractors who operate outside the protections of most labor and civil rights laws. Get the Backstory on this shadowy industry that employees millions, and the lawsuit that could help change their working conditions for the better.
[Image credit: Courtesy of The Nation, Art by Tim Robinson.]
Sidney Hillman Foundation announced the winners and honourable mentions for the 2014 Hillman Prizes today.
J.J. Adams, Cassidy Olivier, Cheryl Chan, Elaine O’Connor, Susan Lazaruk, Sam Cooper, Jon Ferry, Erik Rolfsen, Rafe Arnott, Ben Ngai, Katie Mercer, Jason Payne, Arlen Redekop, and Carolyn Soltau received an honorable mention for "Racism in Paradise," a portrait of prejudice in a rapidly-changing British Columbia.
[Photo credit: vtgard, Creative Commons.]