Tyson to Workers: No Jab, No Job

Aug. 3, 2021
Tyson Foods has become the first major food processing company to require vaccination against COVID for all employees, including floor workers.

Tyson Foods has become the first major food processing company to require vaccination against COVID for all employees, including floor workers.

CEO Donnie King issued an all-employees memo Aug. 3 stating that all workers must get vaccinated according to a schedule: executives by Sept. 24, other office workers by Oct. 1 and floor workers by Nov. 1. The requirement for floor workers may be subject to negotiations with unions.

Less than half of Tyson’s workforce of 56,000 has been vaccinated against COVID, the company estimates. Tyson has offered vaccinations at its plants and has paid cash incentives, which will continue, with a $200 bonus for plant workers.

“We did not take this decision lightly. We have spent months encouraging our team members to get vaccinated – today, under half of our team members are,” King wrote in the memo.

Tyson, like all meatpackers, has struggled with its response to the pandemic. According to the Food & Environment Reporting Network, Tyson has had more than 12,500 COVID cases in its plants, with 39 deaths. It is currently facing lawsuits from workers or their surviving families charging the company with negligence in allowing the spread of COVID.

Tyson is believed to be the first major company with so-called “front-line workers” to require vaccinations for all employees. Up to this point, vaccinations had mostly been required for office work.

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