The Sidney Hillman Foundation, which honors investigative journalism and deep storytelling in service of the common good, announced today that Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Caregivers and Takers had won its 2020 prize for web journalism.
Reporters Jennifer Gollan and Melissa Lewis found that exploitation and abuse of caregivers in senior board-and-care homes was rampant across the United States. Many were immigrants who earned roughly $2 an hour to work around the clock with no days off, while operators raked in millions.
Workers often slept on floors, on couches or in garages, yet some were still charged for “room and board.” Some were victims of human trafficking; many were harassed and fired if they complained. Prosecutors likened these workplace conditions to indentured servitude. In at least 1,400 cases, Reveal found, care-home operators across the nation broke minimum wage and other labor laws.
“With the coronavirus sickening staggering numbers of patients and staff, there is no better time to take stock of the systemic neglect, exploitation, and official indifference that defines the assisted living industry,” the foundation said in awarding the prize.
The Hillman Prize has been given out since 1950 by the foundation, which is named for Sidney Hillman, a labor leader in the first half of the 20th century.