Tyson employee cries foul on company's handling of COVID-19 cases


by Marine Glisovic, KATV (AR)

July 27th 2020


LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Thousands of positive COVID-19 cases have been recorded at meat and poultry processing plants across the country.


Over the last few months, Seven On Your Side has received dozens of complaints from Tyson workers alleging unsafe work environments - one complaint, in particular, going viral on social media.


The latest Center for Disease and Prevention Control analysis found that more than 16,000 food plant workers were infected in April and May.


As of July 24, in Arkansas, the Department of Health has recorded 3,855 cases at poultry plants with 296 active cases and 20 deaths so far.


One of those active cases is a worker at a Tyson plant in Springdale who claims she was being told to go back to work just days after testing positive.


On July 15, Mart Sandoval, 49, began to feel ill and her daughter Jackie Tobias advised her to get a COVID-19 test. Four days later, medical records show Sandoval tested positive for the virus on July 19.


“We knew her risk was high for exposure because she was working at a poultry plant and as much as you want to mentally prepare for that moment, you just can’t,” said Tobias.


Just two days later, Tobias said, a Tyson human resources representative contacted Sandoval and reportedly said she needed to go back to work that following Monday. Tobias, an HR professional herself, was shocked when her mother told her the news.


"What she was told was the expectation is that you come back Monday or you’re just not going to receive your paid leave for COVID, you will only get paid for this week and that will be it,” Tobias explained.


She described her family’s panic, by then, Sandoval’s symptoms had become worse and her husband had also tested positive for the virus. Tobias said after failed attempts to reach Tyson, she took to social media.


Her tweet went viral and caught the attention of Tyson and Arkansas Senator Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, who said unfortunately stories like Sandoval’s have become too familiar...


more, including photos, video report [5:03 min.]