05/01/2020

Tyson Executives Mismanage Coronavirus, Exposing Workers to COVID-19

Vuk Vujasinovic

Vuk Vujasinovic

05/01/2020

Tyson Foods’ Plants Become COVID-19 Hot Spots

The latest news according to health officials and county health reports shows that at least 3,300 workers have contracted the COVID-19 virus while working at a meat processing plant and 17 have died from the respiratory illness. Tyson Foods is accountable for 6 of those deaths.

Almost nine-hundred employees at a single Tyson Food plant in Cass County Indiana have already tested positive for COVID-19 and these employees account for about 75% of all the COVID-19 cases in Cass County. Similarly, about 90% of the COVID-19 cases in Black Hawk County Iowa, can be directly attributed to their local Tyson pork processing plant. It is alarmingly clear that Tyson’s plants have been extremely susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks, leaving thousand of their already vulnerable and underpaid workers defenseless to infection. 

“My personal opinion is that it should be closed… I think we need a hard boot, reset on that plant... I think we need to deep-clean that facility and I think we need to restart that plant on a clean slate.” Says Black Hawk County Sherriff Tony Thompson in an interview with USA Today

Despite concerns from officials about the safety of meat processing plants, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on April 18th to reopen meat processing plants that have been shut down in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. This action comes as a result of dwindling meat production in the United States as supply chains suffer from absent workers who’ve become ill with COVID-19. This decision has been largely controversial as workers at these facilities are being exposed and infected at what is already an alarming rate. 

Tyson Continues to Fail Their Employees 

“This all could have been prevented. Workers are paying with their lives and their health because their industry decided not to implement basic safety precautions and OSHA decided to bury its head in the sand and tell workers ‘You’re on your own,’” said Debbie Berkowitz, a former senior OSHA official, and expert on meat processing plants in an interview with The Washington Post.

Tyson’s meat processing plants require their employees to work in close proximity to one another on conveyor belts as workers disassemble and prepare pork, poultry, and other meats for consumers. These labor-intensive and close-quarter environments, along with a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have drastically raised the risk of infection for thousands of Tyson employees. Tyson executives’ mismanagement of the crisis has effectively turned their plants into hotbeds for the COVID-19 virus, endangering workers and the communities in the surrounding areas. 

In Iowa, local officials have reported that employees at their Tyson Pork Plant are using bandannas and sleep eyewear as facial coverings - in most cases, workers can be seen without any kind of facial covering. There’s little evidence that any social distancing measures are in place in such facilities. Some workers have even reported that supervisors at Tyson have miscommunicated and omitted noteworthy information about ill colleagues and coworkers - leaving their workers blind to the risks of coming to work. Typical for a company that is notorious for having a “work while sick/injured culture”. 

Tyson’s executives have shown a complete lack of leadership and workers are paying with their lives. 

What Tyson Employees Need to Know 

Tyson has a long history of failing its employees, from their fake worker’s compensation system to their mishandling of on the job injuries, there’s no question that the meatpacking conglomerate that is Tyson Foods is a corporate bully who prioritizes profits over employee safety. VB Attorneys has successfully battled Tyson for unsafe work conditions and negligence on many occasions. 

Tyson’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic is no different.

If you work for Tyson foods and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have suffered from any kind of work-related injury it is important that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible as you may be entitled to compensation. VB Attorneys has decades of experience battling Tyson and big companies alike. Call 713-224-7800 or click here to contact us.