Michael Grabell

Reporter

Photo of Michael Grabell

Michael Grabell writes about economic issues, labor, immigration and trade. He has reported on the ground from more than 30 states, as well as some of the remotest villages in Alaska and Guatemala. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic and the New York Times and on Vice and NPR. In 2019, he was part of a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Peabody and George Polk awards for their coverage of family separation and abuse in immigrant children’s shelters. He previously won the Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism for his investigation into the dismantling of workers’ compensation and an ASNE award for reporting on diversity for his series on the growth of temp work in the economy.

How Much Is Your Arm Worth? Depends On Where You Work

Each state determines its own workers’ compensation benefits, which means workers in adjoining states can end up with dramatically different compensation for identical injuries.

Workers' Compensation Reforms by State

Over the past decade, states across the country have been unwinding a century-old compact with America’s workers: A guarantee that if you are injured on the job, your employer will pay your medical bills and enough of your wages to help you get by. In all, 33 states have passed laws that reduce benefits, create hurdles to getting medical care or make it more difficult to qualify for workers’ comp.

Employers Complain of Rising Premiums, But Workers’ Comp Is at 25-Year Low

Despite the drumbeat of complaints about costs, employers are paying the lowest rates for workers’ compensation insurance than at any time in the past 25 years, even as the costs of health care have increased dramatically.

‘I Try to Forget’

Joel Ramirez was paralyzed from the waist down in 2009 when a 900-pound crate fell on him while on the job. A new #WorkersComp law in 2014 passed in California and the home health aide he relied on was taken away. This is his life now.

The Demolition of Workers’ Comp

Over the past decade, states have slashed workers’ compensation benefits, denying injured workers help when they need it most and shifting the costs of workplace accidents to taxpayers.

Judge Orders NYPD to Release Records on X-ray Vans

The NYPD has a secretive program that uses unmarked vans with X-ray machines designed to detect bombs. ProPublica tried to find out more about it, but the NYPD refused to answer for three years.

Illinois Revokes License of Temp Agency Check Cashing Store

Investigations in Illinois, a new law in California, questions from a U.S. senator and increased scrutiny from OSHA follow ProPublica series on the growth of temp work.

California Governor Signs Bill to Protect Temp Workers

Employers will be legally responsible if their temp agencies and subcontractors put workers at risk or withhold wages.

California Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Temp Workers

The bill, inspired in part by a ProPublica investigation, will hold companies accountable for labor abuses by temp agencies and subcontractors they use.

Senator Asks OSHA About Temp Worker Buried Alive In Sugar

In a letter to OSHA, U.S. Senator Robert Casey asks whether the agency has the tools to ensure that temp workers are protected in the workplace.

Sugar Plant Removed Safety Device 13 Days before Temp Worker’s Death

Janio Salinas was buried alive in sugar. A newly released accident report and an undercover investigation by Univision reveal the obstacles OSHA faces in its temp worker safety initiative.

Hummus Maker Warned of 'Extreme Safety Risk' Before Temp Worker’s Death

Daniel Collazo was pulled into a hummus grinder in 2011. New documents show Tribe Mediterranean Foods knew about the safety problem that caused his death, but did nothing about it.

California Considers Bill to Protect Temp Workers

California bill would hold companies legally responsible for wage and safety violations committed by their subcontractors and temp agencies.

A Modern Day 'Harvest of Shame'

Today’s blue collar temp laborers face abuses similar to those of migrant farmworkers depicted in iconic 1960 CBS documentary.

Temp Worker Regulations Around the World

The United States has some of the weakest labor protections for temp workers in the developed world. Here, we map out how countries compare based on data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

U.S. Lags Behind World in Temp Worker Protections

'Permatemping' cases highlight lack of U.S. protections for temp workers. Other countries limit the length of temp jobs, guarantee equal pay and restrict dangerous work.

How to Improve Temp Worker Safety

Health and safety experts have identified steps regulators could take to decrease temp workers’ injuries but opposition from business and industry makes immediate change unlikely.

Temporary Work, Lasting Harm

Temp workers are thrown into dangerous work with little training and suffer injuries far more often than permanent employees.

How We Calculated Injury Rates for Temp and Non-Temp Workers

Worker’s comp data collected from five states shows temps are far more likely to be injured on the job.

The $13 Test That Saved My Baby’s Life. Why Isn’t it Required For Every Newborn?

Dozens of babies die every year because hospitals do not perform a simple test that detects congenital heart defects. Seventeen states have yet to require the exam for newborns.

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