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
From Andrea Elliott's stunning multi-part profile of Dasani, a preteen girl raising her seven siblings in Fort Greene. Dasani is one of New York's 22,000 homeless children:
Adults who are homeless often speak of feeling “stuck.” For children, the experience is more like a free-fall. With each passing month, they slip further back in every category known to predict long-term well-being. They are less likely to graduate from the schools that anchor them, and more likely to end up like their parents, their lives circumscribed by teenage pregnancy or shortened by crime and illness.
[Photo credit: spotreporting, Creative Commons.]
- Nadine Gordimer remembers Nelson Mandela in the New Yorker.
- Thousands of fast food workers walked off the job yesterday to demand a living wage. $45 billion earmarked for charity is sitting in so-called "donor advised funds" run by big banks, and legally, it could sit there forever.
- A Florida city paid millions to house homeless people in filthy, crime-ridden slums.
- Could you use $30,000 to finish a major work of non-fiction? Enter to win the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, deadline Dec. 10.
[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]
Ed Pilkington of the Guardian does some serious muckraking on right wing think tanks:
Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers' compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.
The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as "free-market thinktanks", includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
[Photo credit: Han van Hoof, Creative Commons.]
Marc Bussanich of Labor Press attended Hillman's "Changing Face of Unionism" panel on Monday and shot this video. Read his write-up of the panel discussion featuring Rich Yeselson, Bruce Raynor, Andy Stern, and Sarita Gupta with moderator Raj Goyle.
Join us tonight, Dec 2, for a panel discusion on the future of the union movement with guests Bruce Raynor, Andy Stern, Rich Yeselson, and Sarita Gupta, and moderator Raj Goyle.
A wave of protests swept Walmart on Black Friday and fast food strikes are being planned in 100 cities nationwide. The panel will discuss how campaigns by low-wage workers in the fast food and big box retail are reshaping the labor movement.
This free event is co-sponsored by the Sidney Hillman Foundation and the Rubin Foundation. Refreshments will be served.
What: The Changing Face of Unionism: New ideas for labor in the 21st Century
When: Dec 2, 6-8pm.
Where: 17 W. 17th St, Manhattan, NY. (8th Floor)
What Part Do I Play in All of This: RSVP to email@example.com
- Walmart activists plan Black Friday protests nationwide
- The city of Sea-Tac voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, by 77 votes, expect a recount
- Debunking 50 years of JFK conspiracy theories
- Labor organizing: There's an app for that
[Photo credit: Brent Nashville, Creative Commons.]
You don't remember this, but if you were born in the United States in the last half-century, you probably had blood drawn to screen for dozens of rare genetic disorders. When these tests pick up treatable illnesses, prompt action can prevent early death or lifelong disability. The newborn screening program saves about 12,000 babies every year. Unfortunately, as the Milwaukee Journal Sential discovered, over 100,000 tests a year are processed late, and the consequences can be deadly.
[Photo credit: Keaggy, Creative Commons.]
A sensible antidote to the latest round of racially-tinged "knockout game" hysteria.
[Photo credit: Eva-Lotta Lam, Creative Commons.]
The Best of the Week's News
- Yet more reports of Border Patrol locking detainees in freezers, sometimes after dousing them with cold water.
- Mariya Strauss profiles kids who died at work after the Labor Department squelched proposed child labor rules that would have kept them out of dangerous farm jobs.
- Why Justice Anthony Kennedy might not be the pro-choice swing vote everyone expects him to be.
- The humanitarian crisis in the Philippines reignites controversy over U.S. food aid policies.
Two Ohio Walmarts are hosting food drives for their own associates this holiday season. "A lot of associates can't even afford to buy a small turkey," Ricki Hahn, a seven-year employee of Wal-Mart, told the local Fox News station that broke the story. That's not surprising considering that more than half of all Walmart employees make less than $25,000 a year, according to the company's CEO, a wage that would make a family of four eligible for food stamps. The food drives have ignited controversy over Walmart's poverty wages ahead of Black Friday, which has become a flashpoint for labor unrest at Walmart stores in recent years. The employee group OUR WALMART is keeping the pressure on. The National Labor Relations Board recently handed Walmart employees a major victory, ruling that the retailer cannot retaliate against workers for protesting Walmart's poverty wages.