Petition to John Tyson, Chairman of the Board
Our members working at the Tyson Glen Allen plant have risked their health and the health of their loved ones to keep America fed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Chicken processing and other meatpacking workers and their families have paid an enormous price during this health crisis. An estimated 24,000 workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and 87 have died, including 25 Tyson workers. Here at Glen Allen, we know that 16 workers have tested positive.
In the full-page ad you took out in the NY Times, you said Tyson needed to balance between feeding our country and worker safety. This is a false choice. We know how to keep workers safe while maintaining production: slowing line speed to allow for greater social distancing, making sure that workers are not incentivized to report to work sick, providing workers with PPE, and aggressive testing and contact tracing.
Although you have provided employees with PPE, you have not slowed the production line. You just ended a more flexible sick leave policy, meaning workers who feel sick may be punished if they don’t report to work. And despite the obvious need for testing, as of June 12 you have only tested 31 people at the Glen Allen plant.
Given the high number of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and a positive rate of greater than 50% at Glen Allen (16 positive tests out of 31 total), there may be hundreds of cases that we don’t know about. The lack of universal COVID-19 testing puts workers, their families, their communities, and our nation’s food supply at risk.
We, the undersigned, demand that Tyson immediately do the following:
- Test every employee, contractor and vendor at the Glen Allen plant for COVID-19 at no cost to the employee on a regular and ongoing basis.
- Quarantine with full pay any Glen Allen employee who tests positive for COVID-19.
- Contact trace and quarantine with full pay all employees who had prolonged close contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19.
- Quarantine all vendors and contractors who had prolonged close contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and encourage their employers to provide them with paid leave.