In this file:
· Iowa finds no violations at Tyson plant with deadly outbreak
· Tyson Foods closing Columbia processing plant. More than 100 jobs lost
· Tyson Foods Names Johanna Söderström Chief Human Resources Officer
Iowa finds no violations at Tyson plant with deadly outbreak
Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press
via Des Moines Register (IA) - Jun 23, 2020
Iowa's workplace safety agency says an inspection did not uncover any violations at Tyson Foods' largest pork processing plant, where several employees died after contracting the coronavirus.
The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration closed its inquiry into the Tyson plant in Waterloo earlier this month without sanctioning the meat company.
County officials and workers have alleged that in March and part of April workers did not have adequate personal protective equipment to stop the spread of the virus and were not social distancing. The company says it has taken numerous safety steps since then, including requiring masks, screening for symptoms, and frequent testing.
Black Hawk County has said that more than 1,000 of the Waterloo plant's 2,800 workers had tested positive for the virus or antibodies by early May.
The Associated Press has confirmed that at least five workers have died after getting the virus, most recently a 44-year-old maintenance worker who died on Memorial Day after a lengthy illness. The other deaths have included a 65-year-old laundry department worker, a 58-year-old Bosnian refugee, a 60-year-old Latino father and a refugee from Congo.
Iowa OSHA says it inspected the plant April 20 after Democratic lawmakers filed a complaint alleging that unsafe working conditions caused the outbreak, which devastated the broader community. Within days, the plant suspended operations, reopening about two weeks later with new safety protocols.
Iowa OSHA Administrator Russell Perry said in a letter dated June 11 that his agency found "no violations of the Iowa occupational safety and health standards on the date of the inspection."
"You may have listed conditions on your complaint that were not within the scope of our jurisdiction or items did not exist during the inspection," he wrote to Rep. Ras Smith, a Waterloo Democrat who was among the complainants.
Smith, whose district includes the plant and provided the letter to AP, said Tuesday he was baffled by the decision. He said the agency appeared to be protecting the company and not its workers.
"If they didn't find anything, why did Tyson feel the need to shut down and make some improvements?" Smith said. "It seems as though Iowa OSHA is either complicit or refusing to do the right thing."
State Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Waterloo Democrat who also filed the complaint, said he was stunned.
"It's pretty clear that they couldn't find water if they were standing in a river," he said of Iowa OSHA.
Iowa's OSHA database also shows that the agency's recent inspections of Tyson pork processing plants in Columbus Junction and Perry have been closed without finding any violations...
Tyson Foods closing Columbia processing plant. More than 100 jobs lost
By David Travis Bland, The State (SC)
June 23, 2020
More than 100 people will be out of their jobs at a Columbia food processing facility.
Tyson Prepared Foods is closing its processing plant near Bluff Road, which will put 146 people out of work, according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
The facility will close in August, the department’s layoff report shows.
The plant processed pork for taco filling and pizza toppings, Tyson spokesperson Worth Sparkman said.
The Arkansas based company “decided to move that production to another location,” Sparkman said.
“After much consideration and as part of ongoing efforts to increase efficiency in our business, we plan to discontinue operations at our Columbia, S.C., plant in mid-August,” the company spokesperson said in a statement. “We’ve made this very difficult decision in order to continue focusing on and investing in strategic growth priorities.”
Tyson will cooperate with state officials to let employees know about unemployment benefits and other company jobs, the statement said.
The coronavirus outbreak “did not influence this decision” to close the plant, the company said.
Though COVID-19 may not have played a part in Tyson’s decision, meatpacking workers have been plagued by the coronavirus. More than 10,000 workers fell ill across 170 plants in the United States with at least 45 deaths as of late May, according to national media outlets and research groups. Over a thousand cases of the coronavirus are connected to a pork processing plant in South Dakota, giving the plant one of the highest concentrations for a COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.
House of Raeford farms, another, larger poultry processing plant in West Columbia, has faced its own difficulties. A recent labor dispute...
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Tyson Foods Names Johanna Söderström Chief Human Resources Officer
Source: Tyson Foods, Inc.
via GlobeNewswire - June 23, 2020
SPRINGDALE, Ark., June 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) today named Johanna Söderström as Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, effective July 6, 2020. Söderström will report to Chief Executive Officer Noel White and will lead all aspects of the company’s global people strategy to enable its overall growth, innovation and transformation agenda. Söderström also will focus on continuing to build the company’s culture, talent and capabilities for the future. She succeeds Mary Oleksiuk, who is retiring after a 35-year career.
Söderström, who will join the Enterprise Leadership Team at Tyson Foods, brings more than two decades of experience in global people solutions, employee engagement and talent development to her new role. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer at The Dow Chemical Company and oversaw the company’s cultural and organizational transformation through the DowDuPont merger and spin-off. She previously led global compensation and benefits at Huhtamaki, a global sustainable food packaging company. Söderström started her career in Finland at Ericsson and has also held HR roles in Germany and Switzerland. She holds a Masters in Economics from the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, as well as the Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credential. She is a member of the board of Neste, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and jet fuel from waste and residues.
“Johanna has built her career on helping companies drive growth by fostering strong cultures where employees feel heard, valued and inspired,” White said. “Our team members are the backbone of our company and Johanna’s vision and expertise will be invaluable as we continue to provide them with a positive employee experience in a safe, supportive environment.”
White continued, “We are grateful for Mary’s leadership, first at Hillshire Brands and since 2014 with Tyson Foods. Her innovative approach to team member engagement has enhanced our company in indelible ways and we wish her the very best as she embarks on her well-earned retirement.”
“I’m excited to join Tyson Foods to build on the company's ongoing success driving excellence across its business,” said Söderström. “I look forward to working with Tyson’s exceptional team to strengthen its stellar culture, while developing talent and engaging team members to help the company reach new heights.”
About Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 141,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM.
Gary Mickelson, 479-236-9022