In this file:
· Employees Say Hundreds Of Tyson Foods Workers In Texas Have Tested Positive For COVID-19 (TX)
· Workers speak out after contracting COVID-19 in meat packing plant (NE)
· One in Four Tyson Foods Employees at North Carolina Plant Test Positive for Coronavirus (NC)
· Tyson employees have mixed emotions about how company has handled COVID-19 outbreak (TX)
· Tyson Foods confirms 570 COVID-19 cases linked to Wilkesboro facility (NC)
Employees Say Hundreds Of Tyson Foods Workers In Texas Have Tested Positive For COVID-19
CBS Dallas Fort Worth (TX)
May 20, 2020
SHERMAN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials in Grayson County have confirmed the first death related to COVID-19 — a man in his 50s from Denison. Family members say he was a forklift operator at the Tyson Foods plant in Sherman.
Some employees at the plant say there have been nearly 300 workers there who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Family members say the only Grayson County victim was feeling sick and had begun to have shortness of breath, so he drove himself to the hospital — once there the man went into cardiac arrest.
The man had reportedly been tested for the virus days before, but hadn’t yet received the results.
It was last week when the Texas Department of Emergency Management tested every worker at the Tyson plant. But employees say while they are waiting to learn if they are positive, the outbreak at the Sherman facility keeps growing.
One employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “I mean today they were just coming basically as they were getting results in, they were coming and getting people and escorting them out of the building and telling them to go on a 2-week quarantine.”
The man went to a doctor’s office to get tested again. He says he was sent home Tuesday after showing COVID-19 symptoms that included hot and cold sweats and chills.
According to employees, some 1,000 tests have come back negative, but there are between 300-400 tests that are still pending. Workers whose results are pending are allegedly still going to work, and those who test positive are notified on the job.
“So basically all they’re doing is walking up to you and saying, ‘Hey, I need you to come with me.’ And they walk you to the door almost like you’re being fired, which to me would be like humiliation,” the worker said.
Officials at Tyson have begun checking the temperatures of employees...
more, including video report [0:48 min.]
Workers speak out after contracting COVID-19 in meat packing plant
By Beatriz Reyna, KNOP News (NE)
May 20, 2020
LEXINGTON, Neb. KNOP-TV With more than 1400 workers, Tyson Foods beef processing plant is one of the largest employers in Lexington, Nebraska.
It’s also become the epicenter of the town’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts recently said nearly one of every six cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska is a meatpacking plant worker.
The number of cases has created a dilemma for workers at a time when people are self-isolating and whose livelihoods depend on the meat plant that remains open as an essential part of the local economy and food supply chain.
NBC Nebraska News 2 spoke to two current employees at Tyson in Lexington on the condition of anonymity, as well as a community advocate for the Latino community.
They all painted a similar picture: workers scared to go to back to work but in desperate need of income to pay their bills and feed their families.
They also said widespread absenteeism is leading to a reduction in the amount of meat being processed.
To date, Tyson Foods has not disclosed the number of workers who have tested positive at their plant in Lexington.
"I think that is one of our family members biggest concerns is knowing who has tested positive and if they've been exposed to COVID-19 and some of them are even concerned to return back to work," said community organizer Gladys Cox.
In an email, Tyson described additional precautions, including plastic divisions between some workers and a relaxed attendance policy, “to ensure that team members feel encouraged to stay home if they are not feeling well.”
Tyson also sent the following statement to KNOP-TV:
"The health and safety of our team members, their families and communities is our top priority, and we take this responsibility extremely seriously. We are conducting testing of team members and will not hesitate to idle any plant to conduct additional deep cleaning and sanitization of the entire facility.
All employees who have tested positive will remain on sick leave until they have satisfied official health requirements outlined by the CDC for return to work, and we have increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick.
We have put in place enhanced safety precautions and installed protective social distancing measures throughout all plants, including in our Lexington facility. These measures, which meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance, include:
One in Four Tyson Foods Employees at North Carolina Plant Test Positive for Coronavirus
By Brendan Cole, Newsweek
More than a quarter of the workforce at a Tyson Foods poultry facility in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus in the latest wave of the disease to hit the food giant as it carries out widespread testing.
Tyson said that out of the 2,244 staff and contractors at its plant in Wilkesboro, some 570 came back with positive results for COVID-19 following tests between May 6 and May 9. The company said most cases were asymptomatic.
The plant had been closed earlier in May for cleaning and sanitizing to mitigate against the disease after officials in Wilkes Country said most of the coronavirus cases in the county were linked to the plant, the News and Observer reported.
Since the end of the temporary closure, the company said in a statement that production would "ramp up" and that safety measures such as temperature screenings, face masks and barriers at work stations had been implemented.
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Tom Brower, senior vice president of health and safety for Tyson Foods, said: "We are working closely with local health departments to protect our team members and their families, and to help manage the spread of the virus in our communities...
Tyson employees have mixed emotions about how company has handled COVID-19 outbreak
By Braylee McCoy, KXII (TX)
May 21, 2020
SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - Employees say there are nearly 300 cases of COVID-19 at Tyson Foods in Sherman, and they have mixed emotions about how the company has handled the outbreak.
"We found out that we were working side by side three people that tested positive they just disappeared one day, I understand that you can't give out information, personal information, but I believe as a worker I deserve to know if I have been around someone that has this," an anonymous employee said.
The employees in this story wanted to remain anonymous.
One employee said they found out they themselves had COVID-19 last week, and they said all they want right now is the truth, but they claim they haven't been able to get that from management.
"Tyson is hiding information from their employees, out right whole heartedly," the employee said.
But another employee feels differently.
"I have never felt unsafe ever ever ever, I've felt extremely cared for with all the protocols they originally put in place and as the weeks have gone on, they've added to those," another anonymous employee said.
Grayson County reported their first COVID-19 related death on Tuesday, and a Tyson employee said they were co-workers.
"The guy that died yesterday that was my co-worker, I talked to this man every day, I've talked to him everyday for the past five years, he's a guy I consider my friend," the anonymous employee said.
Tyson corporate said they are increasing sanititation, but an employee sent News 12 pictures of empty sanitizers in the plant.
That employee even said their department...
Tyson Foods confirms 570 COVID-19 cases linked to Wilkesboro facility
WSOCTV.com News (NC)
May 21, 2020
WILKESBORO, N.C. — Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies, has revealed the scale of the novel coronavirus outbreak at its poultry plant in Wilkesboro.
Facility-wide testing found that 570 people out of the plant’s 2,244-strong workforce were positive for COVID-19, the majority of whom “did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.
Most of the workers were tested at the facility from May 6 to May 9, while 237 were either tested by the local health department or through their own health care providers. Those who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they meet the criteria established by both Tyson and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our team members are essential to helping to feed the nation, and their health and safety is always our first priority,” Kevin Taylor, complex manager for the Wilkesboro facility, said in a statement Wednesday. “Disclosing our testing results will help better protect our team members and help provide the wider Wilkesboro community with the information it needs to stop the spread of the virus.”
The Wilkesboro facility...
more, including video report [1:07 min.]