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 "working conditions" ...

  • Drivers Under Siege

    They are not police officers or firefighters, yet Bay Area bus drivers who work for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) face some of the most dangerous working conditions with the fewest protections. Using public records and video footage, our analysis found that bus drivers with AC Transit faced more violent assaults than any other district in the San Francisco Bay Area. After we started asking questions, AC Transit announced it would test out new bus shields to protect drivers and California lawmakers introduced a federal bill in Congress with bipartisan support that will require transit districts across the country to reassess their safety measures. The new law would allocate $25 million a year for five years to pay for shields, de-escalation training, systems for transit agencies nationwide to track assault data and report that data to the Department of Transportation.
  • Insult to Injury

    As Tesla races to revolutionize the automobile industry and build a more sustainable future, it has left its factory workers in the past, still painfully vulnerable to the dangers of manufacturing. Our reporting shows that Tesla prioritized speed over safety, ignored its own safety experts and denied proper medical care to injured workers. And in order to make its safety record look better than it really is, Tesla has kept injuries off the books. Our radio segments take listeners into the factory and behind the scenes, as whistleblowers tell their secrets and workers show the toll on their lives.
  • Poor worker conditions power gig ecomony

    In “Poor worker conditions power gig economy" FT reporter Izabella Kaminska takes on the job of a Deliveroo food delivery rider to investigate whether the so-called 'Uberisation' of the economy – which sees low-wage workers transformed into informal contractors – is a viable and sustainable technological labour innovation. The video likens this new labour structure to a renewed upstairs downstairs society, and questions the economic sustainability of these models in the long term.
  • Outside the Lines: Cowboys Clothing Controversy

    Last year, the Dallas Cowboys ranked third in the NFL in merchandise sales, and three years ago their operation generated more than $90 million. But virtually none of the shirts, jerseys and jackets made for "America's Team" is made in America. Instead, Cowboys merchandise is produced all over the world, and in some cases, in factories that are considered sweatshops, where workers make 29 cents per hour. Currently, claims of labor rights violations, such as mandatory overtime and unfair pay, are coming from workers in some overseas factories that produce Cowboys' apparel. Outside the Lines traveled to Cambodia to visit two of those factories.
  • Wage Theft In the Fields

    American farmworkers have often experienced egregious abuses, but nothing is more pervasive, nor harder to ferret out, than the wage theft that results from a practice called farm-labor contracting. Found in the fields of every handpicked crop in the country, farm-labor contractors not only provide growers with crews, but also handle wages and manage everything from verifying immigration status to providing workers' compensation. The problem is, the contractors systematically underpay the workers. “Farm labor contractors,” says writer Tracie McMillan, “give American produce growers what companies like China's Foxconn offer to Apple: a way to outsource a costly and complicated part of the business, often saving money in the process and creating a firewall between the brand and the working conditions under which its products are made.” And yet McMillan — a fellow with both the Knight-Wallace program at University of Michigan, and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University — found that enforcement is rare: In 2008, inspectors visited only 1,499 of the more than 2 million farms nationwide; in 2011, California inspectors found just seven minimum wage violations on the state’s 86,000 farms. Fines are minimal: “It's cheaper to violate the law than to follow the law,” says one farmworker advocate. And wage theft is tedious to prove, requiring inspectors to interview workers, analyze time cards, and collect payroll records. That's why workers and their advocates in California are counting on a lawsuit brought earlier this year on behalf of two farmworkers against the contractors who hired them—as well as the growers who outsourced the work. The suit alleges that the contractors routinely undercounted the hours worked, failed to pay minimum wage or overtime, failed to provide safe or sanitary working conditions, and housed the workers in unsafe and unsanitary living quarters. The “collective action” suit—open to anyone who can prove he or she experienced the same treatment—may cover thousands of workers and deliver awards substantial enough to deter other employers from the same practices.
  • iLied: Exposing Mike Daisey’s Fabrications of Apple’s Supply Chain in China

    This two-part investigation exposed fabrications in American monologuist Mike Daisey’s narrative about the Chinese factory workers who make Apple products, and also gave a voice to the Chinese men and women who were at the center of the international debate about factory conditions. Daisey had gained a worldwide platform as Apple’s most prominent critic; Reporter Rob Schmitz’s investigation proved that the details on which Daisey had built his compelling story were fabricated. Schmitz’s investigation aired on Marketplace and This American Life on March 16, 2012 and made international headlines, sparking a debate about journalistic truth. Schmitz’s April 2012 follow-up stories broadcast the points-of-view of actual Chinese factory workers and their employers, and helped re-shape the narrative about working conditions at Apple suppliers. Schmitz’s investigation became the most downloaded story in each program’s history. Hundreds of media organizations covered the work, sparking thousands of news articles and commentaries about the findings and the issues it raised. Online components of the work – which included podcasts, photo, and video – demonstrated the reach and longevity of multimedia storytelling; a video Schmitz shot of an iPad assembly line went viral with more than 2 million views on Youtube. The work continues to be discussed in case study format at journalism schools around the U.S., including an ethics class at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
  • Inside Amazon's Warehouse

    The article investigates the working conditions of Amazon warehouses, in which workers are forced to endure inhumane treatment while facing the risk of getting fired if complaining. It exposes how a company like Amazon can wield their significant leverage over workers in bleak job market.
  • "The Dark Side of Daries"

    Rebecca Clarren takes an in-depth look at the dangerous working conditions of migrant dairy workers in the "American West." Many have been seriously injured or killed on the job, but are scared to tell their stories for fear they will be fired.
  • Agriprocessors and Beyond: Inside the Kosher Meat Industry

    This series of articles looked inside the kosher meat industry, a quietly guarded world worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The reporting began two years ago when the Forward's Nathaniel Popper wrote about the working conditions at the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse, Agriprocessors, in Postville, Iowa, setting off a wide-ranging debate in Jewish community. The paper has continued to follow the problems at Agriprocessors and reported early in 2008 on the debate withing the kosher industry about a widely used but apparently cruel method of kosher slaughter known as shackled and hoist. Then, in the middle of the year, federal agents, citing the Forward's reporting raided the Agriprocessors' plant in Iowa. Since the raid, the Forward has followed each legal development, but has also reported on elements of the story that were being overlooked. The first such article detailed the way in which Agriprocessors had handled immigrants and unions at its Brooklyn warehouse-sparking a case that went to the Supreme Court. The next set of articles investigated the working conditions in the rest of the kosher eat industry, with particular attention paid to the labor battles at Agriprocessors' biggest competitor, Alle Processing, which had been completely ignored. The article and chart on industry-wide conditions were the first effort to systematically set down the relative size and production of the major players in the kosher meat industry. The Forward also wrote a lengthy report on the immigrant workers from Agriprocessors who had been released from prison and ordered to testify in federal court against their supervisors, but were given no means to support themselves before the hearing date. After Agriprocessors declared bankruptcy, the Forward reported on the unnoticed consequences for the town and its inhabitants, from the lowly turkeys to the local bankers.
  • How A Long Island Nursing Home Got It's Way

    "Ten Filipino nurses at a nursing home in Smithtown, Long Island were charged with endangering patients for resigning en masse to protest working conditions." Further investigation showed that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer helped the home, which had "contributed more than $75,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee."