April 27, 2020

Oh no! Someone made all our workers get sick and now we won't be able to keep up the supply of meat, Tyson Foods says!

They're not wrong. But they had a lot to do with creating the situation, because they did not provide protection to employees, and told them to come to work when they were sick. Via the Washington Post:

In a full-page newspaper ad published in The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday, Tyson Foods — which sells products ranging from frozen chicken nuggets to cuts of raw pork — said the coronavirus pandemic may disrupt the U.S. food supply chain and raise the price of meat.

The company defended itself from criticism that it has not adequately protected its workers and pleaded for more government assistance in doing so.

“The food supply chain is breaking,” wrote John H. Tyson, chairman of the company’s executive board. “We have a responsibility to feed our country. It is as essential as healthcare. This is a challenge that should not be ignored. Our plants must remain operational so that we can supply food to our families in America. This is a delicate balance because Tyson Foods places team member safety as our top priority.”

Top priority, huh?

The Washington Post reported Sunday that many of the now-closed meat-processing plants, including Tyson’s Iowa pork facility, had failed to provide masks to workers in March and early April, even though the novel coronavirus was already spreading among employees at a shocking clip. Some workers told The Post they were given confusing instructions about when to return to work or told to come in while sick.

Tyson Foods previously told The Post the company has required employees to wear masks since April 15. In the full-page ad, the company also said it had encouraged workers to stay home if they felt ill and implemented social distancing practices inside their plants after forming a coronavirus task force in January.

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