Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "subcontracting" ...

  • Made in Bangladesh

    Following two deadly factory disasters, Fault Lines traces Bangladesh’s garment supply chain to investigate whether U.S. retailers like Walmart and Gap know where their clothes are being made. In November 2012, a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh killed at least 112 people. Walmart’s Faded Glory brand shorts were among the clothing found in the charred remains. Walmart blamed its supplier, saying the order had been subcontracted to Tazreen without its authorization. But as Fault Lines follows the paper trail of the Faded Glory order, what some call an “open secret” is revealed: that corporations deliberately turn a blind eye to the practice of subcontracting. The owner of the factory at the center of the Faded Glory order describes how it ended up in Tazreen, and an insider explains how retailers cut corners to keeps prices low. To confirm the allegations, Fault Lines visits an unauthorized finishing house, where children as young as 12 are unexpectedly found working on Old Navy products.
  • Cell Tower Deaths

    A ProPublica/Frontline analysis of every cell tower-related fatality since 2003 found that tower climbing has a death rate roughly 10 times that of construction, making it one of the most dangerous jobs in America. AT&T, in particular, had the worst track record with more fatalities on its subcontracted jobs than its three closest competitors combined. Yet cell-phone carriers’ connection to tower-climbing deaths has remained largely invisible, because climbers do not work directly for the communications giants whose wireless networks they enable. They are subcontractors – and a microcosm of a larger trend in American labor, in which companies increasingly outsource their riskiest jobs, avoiding scrutiny and accountability when workers die. Our reporting team penetrated deeply into the world of climbing, examining each of the 50 cell-tower deaths since 2003. Our reporters found climbers were often shoddily equipped, poorly trained and compelled to meet tight deadlines, sometimes by working through perilous conditions. And our investigation also revealed OSHA’s struggles to improve safety in tower climbing and fields like it. Labor experts and even former OSHA chiefs described the agency as woefully ill-equipped to handle enforcement issues that have come with the growth of subcontracting.