Clear It with Sidney | Hillman Foundation

Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

Clear It with Sidney

Sucks to Be You, Uber: Driver Deemed Employee in California

Uber’s worst nightmare has come true:

In what could be an explosive decision, the California Labor Commission has found that a driver for Uber in San Francisco is an employee of the company. That’s from a ruling filed in state court on Tuesday and first reported by Reuters. It’s pretty damning. “Defendants hold themselves out as nothing more than a neutral technological platform, designed simply to enable drivers and passengers to transact the business of transportation,” the commission writes. “The reality, however, is that Defendants are involved in every aspect of the operation.” [Slate]

So far, the ruling only applies to one driver from San Francisco, but the precedent could be far-reaching. Uber plans to appeal.

Sidney’s Picks: Baja Farmworkers May Win Big--With a Little Help from a Sidney-winner

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Wikipedia, Creative Commons.

The Best of the Week’s News

  • A factory worker who lost both hands making flatscreen TVs tells her story.

Maslin Nir Wins June Sidney for Exposing Rampant Abuse of NYC Manicurists

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Thomas Hawk, Creative Commons.

Sarah Maslin Nir has won the June Sidney Award for exposing rampant abuses in the nail salon industry in New York City. The 13-month investigation included interiews with well over a hundred nail workers from around the city. Only one in four reported being paid minimum wage. Some earned day rates of just $10, and trainee manicurists not only didn’t get paid, they had to pay their bosses to learn the trade. 

Read more about the winning series and its impact in The Backstory

Rana Plaza Survivors Will Get Full Compensation

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Survivors of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, the deadliest industrial accident in history, will be fully compensated, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Clean Clothes Campaign and its allies. A fundraising breakthrough from an anonymous donor has pushed the Rana Plaza Donor’s trust to its $30 million goal:

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is delighted to announce a major campaign victory with the confirmation that the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund has finally met its target of $30 million, following a large anonymous donation.

The CCC has been campaigning since the disaster in April 2013 to demand that brands and retailers provided compensation to its victims.

Since then over one million consumers from across Europe and around the world have joined actions against many of the major high street companies whose products were being made in one of the five factories housed in the structurally compromised building. These actions forced many brands to finally pay donations and by the second anniversary the Fund was still $2.4 million dollars short of its $30million target. A large donation received by the Fund in the last few days has now led to the Fund meeting its target. []


Sidney’s Picks: Solidarity for Gawker

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Gawker Media, Creative Commons.

The Best of the Week’s News

  • Nebraska abolished the death penalty, but Gov. Pete Ricketts is threatening to execute the 11 inmates currently on death row.

Two Brothers: One a Guard, One and Inmate

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Satanslaundromat, Creative Commons.

Rosa Goldensohn, the latest winner of Hillman’s award for social justice reporting at CUNY J-school, has a new longform piece in 219 Magazine called, “John and Ken,” it’s the story of twin brothers. One became a prison guard at Rikers’ Island, and the other became an inmate. 

Sidney’s Picks: How Nebraska Abolished its Death Penalty

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The Nebraska Legislative Chamber, by Jimmy Emerson, DVM, Creative Commons.

The best of the week’s news

Deportation Relief Stalled as Court Declines to Lift Injunction

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takomabibelot, Creative Commons.

Millions of people will now have to wait longer for deportation relief. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court refused to lift an injunction blocking the Obama administration’s immigration reforms.

Twenty-six states are suing to stop the president from putting his proposed reforms into action. They say he is overstepping the powers of his office by changing immigration policy without the approval of Congress. The administration says that the president doesn’t need a vote from Congress because he’s simply exercising his discretion over how to enforce existing immigration laws. 

The injunction was originally granted by Judge Andrew Hanen, a Brownsville jurist who makes a cameo appearance in Sarah Stillman’s Sidney Award-winning story, “Kidnapped at the Border.” In 2013, Hanen notoriously urged the Department of Homeland Security to deport undocumented parents living in the United States for trying smuggle their children into the country.


#Sidney's Picks: LA's Fight For Fifteen Poised to Win Big

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Mayor of Los Angeles, Creative Commons.

The Best of the Week’s News

  • The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 for preliminary measure that would raise the city minimum wage to $15/hr by 2020.
  • The New York Times Editorial Board supports Los Angeles’s proposed $15/hr minimum wage.
  • This op/ed by Tahmima Anam addresses sexism, religion, language, and nationalism in 750 words about public urination. It’s masterful. 

Los Angeles Poised to Raise Minimum Wage to $15/hr by 2020

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Monkeytime, Creative Commons.

Great news out of Los Angeles in the Fight for Fifteen:

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to increase the minimum wage in the nation’s second-largest city to $15 an hour by 2020 from the current $9, in a victory for labor and community groups that have pushed for similar pay hikes in several U.S. municipalities.

The council’s 14-1 vote on the measure, which must come back before the panel for final approval, would require businesses with more than 25 employees to meet the $15 pay level by 2020, while smaller businesses would have an extra year to comply. [LAT]

If the measure becomes law, larger firms would have to start paying $10.25/hr by 2016, and the minimum wage would rise in increments from there.