You’re a worker at a Tyson Foods poultry plant and still punching in even though the coronavirus continues to run rampant through meat-processing plants across the country. You’re proud that your job helps keep supermarkets stocked. Your family supports Donald Trump. But the president’s executive order to keep meat plants open — issued after the Tyson Foods chairman, John Tyson, publicly warned of supply shortages — worries you. You think company leadership pushed for plants to stay open and to run at top speed instead of doing more to keep workers safe. This is the reality for Jerald Brooks, a Tyson poultry processing plant worker in Glen Allen, Va. He is not alone.
Meat plant workers rarely speak out for fear of reprisal. But in the video above, Jerald and Lakesha Bailey, a former worker at a Tyson plant, urge the company to slow down the processing lines. Chicken carcasses zoom along the lines at breakneck speeds, and workers are often packed shoulder to shoulder to keep up — making it impossible to social distance.
Tyson Foods claims one of its core values is “Workplace Safety,” yet 570 workers tested positive for the coronavirus in a single poultry plant in Wilkes, N.C. And at Tyson plants around the country, over 7,000 employees have tested positive for the virus. Workers continue to die from Covid-19. Despite this, the company recently reverted to its pre-coronavirus absentee policy; workers who fear getting infected will now be penalized for staying home.
Workers like Jerald and Lakesha want to continue to feed America. But they don’t want to have to sacrifice their safety or that of their families to do so.
Source: The New York Times