Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

April 2017

Announcing the winners of the 2017 Hillman Prizes for Journalism and the 2017 George Barrett Award for Public Interest Law

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The Sidney Hillman Foundation

 

The Sidney Hillman Foundation is very proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Hillman Prizes for Journalism and the 2017 George Barrett Award for Public Interest Law:

  • Book
    • Matthew DesmondEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Crown. 
  • Newspaper 
    • David Fahrenthold, For reporting on the Trump Foundation and 2016 presidential election, The Washington Post.
  • Magazine 
    • Nikole Hannah-Jones, “Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City,” New York Times Magazine.
  • Broadcast
    • Brendan Keefe, “Dying For Help: Fixing The Nation’s Emergency Response System,” WXIA-TV, Atlanta.
  • Web
  • Opinion & Analysis
    • Adele M. Stan, for outstanding commentary on the 2016 election, The American Prospect.
  • George Barrett Award for Public Interest Law

Ceremony will be Tuesday, May 9th in NYCRSVP here

Sidney's Picks: The Secretary of White Tears, the Rule of Law, and Human Error

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ELTMAN, Creative Commons.

Bloomberg Businessweek wins April Sidney for Exposing Alabama's Deadly Non-Union Auto Parts Industry

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Reco Allen, with his son, in Tanner, Ala. Allen lost his right hand and forearm as the result of an accident he sustained in 2013 while working on the assembly line at a Matsu auto parts plant in Alabama. (Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek)

Peter Waldman wins April Sidney for “Inside Alabama’s Jobs Boom: Cheap Wages, Little Training, Crushed Limbs,” published in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Alabama is home to 160 auto parts factories, which supply the car factories that flocked to the right-to-work state in the late nineties. Workers in this low-wage, nonunion corner of the auto parts industry endure long shifts to fill punishing production quotas in order to compete with similar firms in Bangladesh and Mexico.

 

When a machine malfunctioned on the Ajin USA assembly line, 20-year-old Regina Elsea feared her team would miss their quota if she waited for a technician to fix it. So she grabbed a screwdriver and attempted to clear the problem herself. The broken machine surged forward, impaling Elsea on a pair of welding tips. The technician her coworkers summoned to fix it had no idea what to do and ran away. She died the next day. Ajin sent a single artificial flower to her funeral.

 

OSHA fined Ajin $2.5 million in connection with Elsea’s death. A month earlier, the company had been fined for letting 8 workers get their hands crushed in welding machines.

 

The risk of losing a limb or a digit in an Alabama parts factory is double the risk for the industry at large. A worker in Alabama is 65% more likely to lose a digit than a worker in the same industry in Michigan.

 

“Workers like Elsea are losing life and limb because of unrelenting time pressure and lack of basic safety training.” said Sidney judge Lindsay Beyerstein. “Waldman used the Freedom of Information Act to expose a hidden epidemic of grisly death and catastrophic injury in this industry.”

 

Peter Waldman has been an investigative reporter for Bloomberg News since 2009. He was previously a Senior Writer for Conde Nast Portfolio and before that an editor and reporter for The Wall Street Journal for 22 years, where he was posted in the Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

 

Sidney's Picks: OSHA's Silence, Dirty Hands, and Kushner's Ruse

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Frankieleon, Creative Commons.

Sidney’s Picks: The Best of the Week’s News