New York Times reporter Matt Levine has been investigating the mattress company he covered for more than a decade.
The investigation led to a lawsuit from a mattress company alleging deceptive practices and led to the ouster of one of the company’s CEOs, Matt Fenton.
Levine has since moved on to other projects.
The Times, which published his articles in the wake of the Mattress Factory lawsuit, is publishing his new book, “Inevitable Disaster: The True Story of Mattress Firm,” this week.
He also plans to publish an online series of stories on the mattress industry.
“I was shocked to discover how many companies were operating with complete disregard for their customers’ safety and the well-being of the workers they employ,” Levine told The Associated Press by phone.
“When I discovered this in 2005, I was stunned that this was a widespread problem in the industry.
I knew then that this wasn’t an isolated incident, and I knew that the industry could and should do better.”
Matt Levine, the Times reporter who broke the Mattresses Factory lawsuit in 2005.
He is pictured here at the company in 2001.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) In 2007, Levine began reporting on the company, Mattress Pro, after interviewing workers, managers and other employees.
“We found that the company had little to no safety training and that the workers who were working there were not being paid for their work,” Levine said.
“The workers were often being forced to work without gloves or other protective equipment.”
Levine said he discovered that Mattress Pros workers were required to wear only a disposable mask and to put on a respirator every time they worked in the factory, and he was also told that workers were not permitted to use a cell phone, email or other electronic devices in the workplace.
“Mattress Pros has long been known for their lack of workplace safety standards,” Levine wrote in his book.
“They have no training, no policy, no way of monitoring workers’ movements.
They do not allow employees to bring personal belongings into the factory and to carry out any work at home.
They are so dependent on the workers that they refuse to provide them with any form of health insurance, pay for their own healthcare, or pay for the basic necessities they need to live.
The company’s employees, who work in a warehouse that is just a few miles from the plant, have been told they are not entitled to a union contract.
The workers, many of whom are minors, are paid little more than $7.50 an hour.
“Even when Mattress pros agreed to pay workers for overtime hours, they didn’t offer health insurance or paid sick leave. “
It was shocking that the only thing employees were paid for in a facility with no access to a health care plan was overtime,” Levine continued.
In 2013, Mattrics Pros was fined $3.8 million by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for unsafe conditions in the Mattrises factory. “
In the past, Mattresses Pros was the poster child for the lack of regulation and accountability in the mattress manufacturing industry.
In 2013, Mattrics Pros was fined $3.8 million by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for unsafe conditions in the Mattrises factory.
“For decades, the industry has been focused on maximizing profits, rather than protecting the health and safety of its workers. “
This industry has long failed to address worker safety, despite decades of efforts to do so,” Levine added.
“For decades, the industry has been focused on maximizing profits, rather than protecting the health and safety of its workers.
Mattresses pro is not alone.
In the wake for the Mattry Factory lawsuit and the Matts Pro investigation, MattFenton stepped down from the company.
The lawsuit was settled in 2017 for $12.5 billion, which was split between MattressPro, Matt, Matt and Matt’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, according to court records.
Procters lawyers told Levine in a statement that they believe the settlement provides a fair and equitable resolution of the lawsuit, and that they are confident that the settlement will result in the elimination of these illegal practices.”
Levine wrote that he found the settlement to be a significant step forward for workers, saying that it made clear to MattressPros executives that the firm would not tolerate unsafe working conditions.
“There is no question that the Matt Pro settlement represents a significant milestone in the fight to end the unsafe working practices that Matt Pros has perpetuated for decades,” he said.