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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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Clear It With Sidney

Wed, Apr 29, 2015

The Children's Place, a retailer whose goods were being made in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh at the time of its 2013 collapse, has agreed to pay $2 million to a fund to help survivors of the catastrophe. The deal was brokered by Workers United SEIU.

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The Children's Place, a retailer whose goods were being made in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh at the time of its 2013 collapse, has agreed to pay $2 million to a fund to help survivors of the catastrophe. The deal was brokered by Workers United SEIU.

The labor organization Workers United SEIU reached an agreement with The Children's Place last Thursday, the day before the second anniversary of the disaster that killed more than 1,100 garment workers in the Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As a result of that agreement, protests planned at Children's Place stores for last Friday were canceled. The activist groups plan to continue to press other U.S. retailers, including J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart, for contributions.

Activists hope to raise a total of $30 million for the survivors fund. 

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Fri, Apr 24, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

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Thu, Apr 23, 2015

Charles Gladden works in the cafeteria at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, but he has not had a fixed address for 5 years. Instead of going home at night, the 63-year-old diabetic grandfather sleeps in the McPherson Square Metro Station, near the White House.

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Charles Gladden works in the cafeteria at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, but he has not had a fixed address for 5 years. Instead of going home at night, the 63-year-old diabetic grandfather sleeps in the McPherson Square Metro Station, near the White House.

Gladden recently took part in a one-day strike to draw attention to the fact that the U.S. government is the single biggest indirect creator of jobs that do not pay a living wage. 

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Mon, Apr 20, 2015

In September 2014, Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes, and Natalie Caula Haff won the Sidney Award for "Til Death do Us Part," a fearless, masterfully reported investigation into the domestic homicide crisis in South Carolina.

Read our Backstory Interview about the making of this landmark series 

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In September 2014, Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes, and Natalie Caula Haff won the Sidney Award for "Til Death do Us Part," a fearless, masterfully reported investigation into the domestic homicide crisis in South Carolina.

Read our Backstory Interview about the making of this landmark series 

Today, "Til Death" went on to win the gold medal for Public Service, the most prestigious of all the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism

Our warmest congratulations to Doug, Glenn, Jennifer, and Natalie. We knew they were destined for big things! 

 

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Fri, Apr 17, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • The New York City Housing Authority is way behind on lead abatement and kids are paying the price. (Hat Tip: Liz)
  • 65% of migrants who died in 2014 drowned in the Mediterranean. How one NGO is trying to save lives at sea.
  • NYU made 10,000 construction workers on its Abu Dhabi campus second-class citizens, denying them wage and hour protections that the rest of NYU's employees enjoy.
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Fri, Apr 10, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • What happens when prisoners get sent home early because of computer glitches? What happens when they have to go back?
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Wed, Apr 8, 2015

We are very pleased to announce that Spencer Woodman has won the April Sidney Award for exposing the outrageous non-compete agreements that Amazon has been enforcing on its temporary warehouse workers. Woodman found that the mega-retailer was forcing workers to sign 18-month non-compete agreements in order to qualify for a 3-month stint in an Amazon warehouse. The language of the non-compete clause is so sweeping that, if it were enforced, it would appear to bar workers from almost any job anywhere in the world, for a period 6 times longer than they actually worked at Amazon. 

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We are very pleased to announce that Spencer Woodman has won the April Sidney Award for exposing the outrageous non-compete agreements that Amazon has been enforcing on its temporary warehouse workers. Woodman found that the mega-retailer was forcing workers to sign 18-month non-compete agreements in order to qualify for a 3-month stint in an Amazon warehouse. The language of the non-compete clause is so sweeping that, if it were enforced, it would appear to bar workers from almost any job anywhere in the world, for a period 6 times longer than they actually worked at Amazon. 

Learn more about Spencer's reporting and Amazon's subsequent promise to stop imposing non-competes on hourly workers in The Backstory

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Fri, Apr 3, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • Texas bill would name judges who authorize abortions for minors.
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Tue, Mar 31, 2015

The Sidney Hillman Foundation is proud to announce that Bryan Stevenson will be the recipient of the inaugural George Barrett Award. This prize goes to an attorney whose work exemplifies the public spirit of the crusading Nashville civil rights attorney George "Citizen" Barrett. 

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The Sidney Hillman Foundation is proud to announce that Bryan Stevenson will be the recipient of the inaugural George Barrett Award. This prize goes to an attorney whose work exemplifies the public spirit of the crusading Nashville civil rights attorney George "Citizen" Barrett. 

Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Based in Alabama, the EJI fights against wrongful convictions, executions, and excessive sentences. Stevenson is the author of the bestselling book, Just Mercy, a memoir about his work as a public interest lawyer. His 2012 TED Talk, "We Need to Talk About Injustice," has been viewed over 2 million times. 

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Fri, Mar 27, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • "We are like a shark": Steelworkers in Ukraine have to keep toiling in a war zone, because if their plant shuts down, it can never re-open.
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