Boston Globe reporter Casey Ross won two awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for his stories on how recovering addicts from an urban church ministry were used to renovate hotels in Boston and around the country for low wages.
Ross’s story on the Victory Outreach Church workers won the 2012 SABEW award in both the Features and Investigative categories for daily news organizations with circulations between 200,000 and 400,000.
The stories, which appeared last summer, detailed how men from Victory Outreach recovery homes worked long hours on major hotel renovation projects for either no pay or less than the legal minimum wage. The men were recruited by a California contractor who pledged to make donations to Victory Outreach in exchange for the labor.
Massachusetts officials eventually ordered the contractor to pay some $31,000 in back wages to church workers involved in the renovation of the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. The contractor is also under investigation by California labor officials.