Clear It with Sidney | Hillman Foundation

Clear It With Sidney

The best of the week’s news by Lindsay Beyerstein

Clear It with Sidney

Sidney's Picks: Congratulations Hillman Prize-winners & Happy Earth Day!

Best of the Week’s News:

  • Meet the winners of the 2022 Hillman Prizes! The ceremony will be held in person in Manhattan on May 3. 
  • Over 200 Starbucks stores across the country have filed for union elections, despite intimidation—and relentless self-pity—from management. (Labor Notes, More Perfect Union)
  • Apple Store workers in Atlanta file for the company’s first union election. (The Verge)
  • EU urges work-from-home to conserve energy. (WaPo)
  • Hillman judge Jamelle Bouie on why Democrats have to stop ignoring the culture wars and start winning them. (NYT)

The Sidney Hillman Foundation Names 2022 Hillman Prize Winners and the Sol Stetin Award for Labor History

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The winners of the 2022 Hillman Prizes

The Sidney Hillman Foundation announces today the winners of the 72nd annual Hillman Prizes for journalism, recognizing a USA TODAY investigation into reprisals against police whistleblowers, ProPublica’s series on how billionaires avoid paying taxes and Ari Berman’s agenda-setting reporting on voting rights. ABC15 Arizona wins a Hillman Prize for reporting that showed the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office fabricating evidence and lying to a grand jury to charge protesters as a wholly fictional criminal street gang for their peaceful protests after George Floyd’s murder.

The jury selected two books this year: Eyal Press for his book about our society’s most ethically troubling jobs that the least advantaged perform on our behalf, and Clint Smith for his book about visiting historical sites to investigate how slavery and the Civil War are memorialized and taught.

This year’s prizes were judged by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, the New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie, Reuters’ Alix Freedman, the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg, the American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel.

The 2022 winners of the Hillman Prizes are:

  • Book – Eyal Press: “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America,” Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Book – Clint Smith: “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America,” Little, Brown and Company Broadcast
  • Broadcast ABC15 Arizona, Dave Biscobing: “Politically Charged”
  • NewspaperUSA TODAY, Gina Barton, Daphne Duret, Brett Murphy: “Behind the Blue Wall”
  • Magazine – Mother Jones, Ari Berman, reporting on voting rights
  • Web – ProPublica, ProPublica staff: “The Secret IRS Files”

Reporting by this year’s prize winners has had significant positive impact, including:

  • ABC15’s reporting resulted in dismissals of felony protest cases and an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the Phoenix Police Department.
  • Ari Berman’s reporting resulted in Illinois ethics investigations against two major organizations seeking to restrict access to the ballot.
  • USA Today’s police whistleblower series resulted in an Attorney General’s investigation of a police department, the dismissal of a police chief, renewed legal interest in a suspicious death in custody, and the abrupt reversal of a whistleblower’s suspension.

This year’s honorees follow in the trailblazing tradition of past Hillman Prize winners ranging from Murray Kempton in 1950 for his articles on labor in the south and Edward R. Murrow in 1954 for his critical reports on civil liberties and Joseph McCarthy at the height of the Red Scare; to David Fahrenthold, in 2017, for exposing Donald Trump’s sexual harassment and mismanagement of his foundation, and Julie K. Brown in 2019 for reporting on the sex crimes and sweetheart deals of Jeffrey Epstein.

The Hillman Prizes are open to journalists and subjects globally for any published reporting widely accessible to a U.S. audience. Winners are awarded a $5,000 prize and a certificate designed by New Yorker cartoonist Edward Sorel.

The foundation also announces today that Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, is the recipient of the 2022 Sol Stetin Award for Labor History. One of this country’s most distinguished historians, Foner’s deep and extensive scholarship has reshaped the way Americans understand the history of their country, especially the Civil War and its aftermath. Throughout his career he has been concerned with how political, economic, and social struggles have shaped and been shaped by the lives and activity of ordinary working people. The Sidney Hillman Foundation grants this lifetime achievement award to a labor historian who has made a significant contribution to the field, researching and telling the stories of working peoples’ lives.

In 2011, the Sidney Hillman Foundation inaugurated the Canadian Hillman Prize. This year, Nicholas Hune-Brown won for the “The Shadowy Business of International Education,” published in The Walrus, which lays bare the exploitation of international students in Canada. 

“Investigative journalism requires tireless dedication to uncovering hard truths and the courage to hold those in power accountable,” said Alexandra Lescaze, the foundation’s Executive Director. “This year’s winners epitomize Hillman’s ideals and the critical role investigative reporting has in safeguarding our society and strengthening our democracy.”

“The Hillman Prizes for journalism honor the legacy of Sidney Hillman, an immigrant who dedicated his life to a “better America.” Hillman, the founder and president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and a founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), believed that a free press was essential to a fair and equal society. The Sidney Hillman Foundation has sought to carry on his legacy by honoring journalists who illuminate the great issues of our times — from the search for a basis for lasting peace to the need for better housing, medical care and employment for all people to the promotion of civil liberties, democracy and the battle against discrimination of all kinds.

The Sidney Hillman Foundation will host an in-person event with limited capacity and Covid-19 precautions on May 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. After two years of virtual events, we are excited to be back together in person to honor such important journalism and stand up for unions and working people,” said Bruce Raynor, president of the foundation.

Sidney’s Picks: Have Fancy Union-Busting Consultants Lost Their Mojo?

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Historical image of a luxury doorman in New York City. (Library of Congress via  

The Best of the Week’s News:

Sidney’s Picks: A New Era of Organizing After Amazon/JFK8 Union Win?

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Ralph Chaplin, 1917, Public Domain

The Best of the Week’s News:

  • National Labor Relations Board moves to block a favorite anti-union tactic: Mandatory meetings (Verge)
  • If the Senate won’t pass pro-union legislation, can progressive states act to help workers organize? (WaPo) 
  • These past Sidney winners present a short video on the backstory of the successful Amazon union drive at JFK8 in Staten Island. (More Perfect Union)
  • A leaked Amazon app would ban words like “union,” “plantation,” and “restrooms, and “pay raise.”   (Intercept)
  • What Amazon will do next, and how labor must respond. (Prospect)

Sidney’s Picks: Historic Amazon Union Win on Staten Island; Celebrating the Canadian Hillmans

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The winner and honorable mention recipients of the 2022 Canadian Hillman Prizes.

Sidney’s Picks:

  • Thursday’s Canadian Hillman Prize ceremony was  a celebration of outstanding journalism and our first in-person even in two years!
  • Amazon workers on Staten Island win historic unionization vote. (CNBC)
  • Meet the renegade NYC Amazon organizers who did what no one thought was possible. (The City)
  • Meanwhile in Alabama, the Amazon union trails by a little over 100 votes, but there are still over 400 challenged ballots in play. (Verge)

Sidney’s Picks: LA Sheriff’s Gangs Exposed & Historic Union Win at Starbucks

The Best of the Week’s News:

Sidney’s Picks: Starbucks Reinstates Union-Busting CEO; Crackdown on Abusers with Guns Coming

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By user eak_kkk, courtesy of Pixabay

Best of the Week’s News:

  • Unsettled by union gains, Starbucks resurrects its old-time union-busting CEO. (Prospect)
  • Reauthorized Violence Against Women Act gives authorities new powers to crack down on abusers with guns. (Reveal)
  • Lacking mental health support, first responders lean on each other. (Undark/Hillman grantee)
  • Give up your town: GOP officials pressure majority-Black municipality to dissolve its charter as a major electric car plant moves in. (TN Lookout)

The Sidney Hillman Foundation announces 2022 Canadian Hillman Prize winners

The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced today that Nicholas Hune-Brown and The Walrus have won the 12th Annual Canadian Hillman Prize for “The Shadowy Business of International Education,” which lays bare the exploitation that many international students endure as they struggle to build a better life in Canada. 


In contrast to the stereotype of the wealthy international student, these young people hail disproportionately from rural India, where their families often go deep into debt to send them abroad. They are preyed upon at every stage of the process, from unscrupulous “education agents” to greedy Canadian employers. The stress, loneliness, and exploitation have contributed to a silent epidemic of international student suicide. All this under the indifferent gaze of college administrators who now depend on the billions of dollars in tuition that these students bring in.


The Hillman judges also recognized Noor Javed, Steve Buist, and Sheila Wang of the Toronto Star and TorStar and Emma McIntosh of Canada’s National Observer with an Honourable Mention for exposing the cronyism at the heart of the Highway 413 project. Their investigation revealed that eight powerful developers who stand to benefit from the project have close ties to Doug Ford’s Conservative government.


Sylvie Fournier and Judith Plamondon of Radio-Canada also garnered an Honourable Mention for “They Stole My Fertility,” a documentary about the involuntary sterilization of racialized women in Quebec.


Please click here for full details on all the honourees.


We thank our distinguished judges, Bonnie Brown, Neil Docherty, and Garvia Bailey.


The Hillman Foundation is delighted to announce that this year’s Canadian Hillman Prize ceremony will be held in person on March 31 at 6pm.




La Fondation Sidney Hillman annonce aujourd’hui que le 12e prix Hillman canadien annuel est décerné à Nicholas Hune-Brown et à The Walrus pour leur remarquable et vaste enquête intitulée The Shadowy Business of International Education.


Le reportage de Nicholas Hune-Brown révèle, pour la première fois, l’ampleur de l’exploitation et de la détresse des étudiants étrangers recrutés dans des programmes destinés aux étudiants internationaux offerts par des établissements d’enseignement postsecondaire canadiens, dans un marché estimé à plusieurs milliards de dollars.

L’enquête met en lumière les pratiques sans scrupules des agents de recrutement qui incitent souvent des familles peu fortunées à tout miser sur ces programmes aux frais de scolarité exorbitants, en échange des promesses d’une vie meilleure. Le journaliste a découvert que les étudiants étrangers ont souvent un statut précaire au Canada, ce qui les expose à l’exploitation par les employeurs, aux difficultés scolaires, à la dépression et à l’isolement, et parfois même, les conduit au suicide. « L’envergure et la profondeur de cette enquête inédite, ainsi que la puissance de son récit empreint de compassion incarnent véritablement l’esprit de Hillman », a souligné la juge Garvia Bailey. Mon plus grand souhait est que ce reportage provoque des changements significatifs et durables en vue de protéger les étudiants étrangers et leurs familles. »

Le jury du concours Hillman a également décerné deux mentions honorables :

La série Friends with Benefits, de Torstar/Toronto Star et National Observer par Noor Javed, Steve Buist, Sheila Wang et Emma McIntosh, est une enquête fouillée et courageuse qui examine les liens douteux existant entre les politiciens et les promoteurs immobiliers impliqués dans les projets de construction de l’autoroute 413 et de l’autoroute de contournement de Bradford en Ontario.

Le reportage On a volé ma fertilité, de Sylvie Fournier et Judith Plamondon, de l’émission Enquête de Radio-Canada, expose la situation de femmes du Québec et de l’ouest du Canada qui ont subi une stérilisation forcée après l’accouchement. Cette pratique est interdite dans de nombreuses juridictions et les journalistes ont découvert qu’elle est historiquement liée à un colonialisme et un racisme qui perdurent encore aujourd’hui.

« Pour faire du bon journalisme d’investigation, il faut se dévouer sans relâche à la recherche de vérités difficiles à entendre et avoir le courage de questionner ceux qui détiennent le pouvoir, a déclaré Alex Dagg, membre du conseil d’administration canadien de la Fondation Sidney Hillman et directrice régionale des politiques publiques d’Airbnb pour le Canada et le Nord-Est des États-Unis. Les lauréats Hillman de cette année sont des modèles du journalisme d’investigation, lequel joue un rôle essentiel dans la protection de notre société et le renforcement de notre démocratie. »

La Fondation Sidney Hillman tiendra son événement en présentiel le 31 mars à 18 h. La capacité d’accueil sera limitée et des mesures de précaution seront mises en place en raison de la Covid-19.

Sidney's Picks: More Starbucks Union Victories; Amazon Crackdown Continues

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Wikimedia Commons.

Best of the Week’s News:

  • Starbucks reneges on scheduling promise in apparent bid to oust Buffalo union organizers. (NYT)
  • New York Times tech workers vote overwhelmingly to join the NewsGuild of New York. (Reuters)
  • Stunning new documentary footage exposes Roger Stone’s role in the January 6 insurgency. (WaPo)
  • Amazon union gets NLRB nod for a second election in New York. (Verge)
  • “My city’s being shelled, but my mum won’t believe me.” Families abroad are trusting Putin’s propaganda over first-hand accounts, some Ukrainians say. (BBC)

Sidney's Picks: Starbucks Union & Roger Stone's Insurrection

Photo credit: 

Wikimedia Commons

Best of the Week’s News:

  • Starbucks reneges on scheduling promise in apparent bid to oust Buffalo union organizers. (NYT)
  • New York Times tech workers vote overwhelmingly to join the NewsGuild of New York. (Reuters)
  • Stunning new documentary footage exposes Roger Stone’s role in the January 6 insurgency. (WaPo)
  • Amazon union gets NLRB nod for a second election in New York. (Verge)
  • “My city’s being shelled, but my mum won’t believe me.” Families abroad are trusting Putin’s propaganda over first-hand accounts, some Ukrainians say. (BBC)