Pork Executive Says Packing Plants Being Proactive In Protecting Workers From COVID 19
Radio 570 WNAX (SD)
Sep 8, 2020
Tyson Foods is planning on opening medical clinics at several of its U.S. processing plants to improve the health of its workers and protect them from the coronavirus. Nebraska Pork Producers Association Executive Director Al Juhnke says that’s a very positive and proactive move by the processor and goes well with how they’ve responded to worker safety during the pandemic.
He says Tyson and other processors are being very pro active with how they’re dealing with the challenges brought on by COVID 19..
Juhnke says Nebraska’s Ag Leaders, the Governor and Packing Plant officials have worked together to provide the best and most up to date protection for workers to keep the food supply chain operating safely...
more, including audio [1:35 min.]
Tyson Foods to open medical clinics at some meat plants
By Josh Funk, KAAL TV (MN)
September 03, 2020
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Tyson Foods is planning to open medical clinics at several of its U.S. plants to improve the health of its workers and better protect them from the coronavirus.
The Springdale, Arkansas-based company, which processes about 20% of all beef, pork and chicken in the U.S., said its plan to open the clinics near its plants was in the works before the coronavirus struck this year, but that they will undoubtedly help the company respond to the pandemic.
Tyson said it would initially set up clinics near seven of its plants, including in Storm Lake, Iowa, and Holcomb, Kansas, in a pilot program. It didn't announce the other locations Thursday. The clinics would open early next year, providing primary care to thousands of Tyson workers and their families.
Tyson is joining a long list of companies that have clinics on or near their worksites or bring in physicians to ensure employees receive annual physicals. Companies say having clinics can reduce health insurance costs by cutting out unnecessary emergency room visits and helping better manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. It can also improve productivity because employees don't have to take as much time off for doctor's appointments.
"Some of our frontline team members aren't using their health plan benefits, and others don't seek care until there's a crisis," said Johanna Söderström, Tyson's chief human resources officer. "We want to change that by providing access to care that can help detect health conditions early and promote healthy habits."
Although Tyson has broader goals for its clinics, Söderström said the pandemic reinforced how important this plan is. The clinics will help educate workers about the coronavirus and address underlying conditions that could make the virus more dangerous. Meatpacking plant workers have been particularly susceptible to the coronavirus because they often stand shoulder-to-shoulder carving up meat.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents 24,000 of Tyson's 120,000 U.S. workers, praised Tyson's decision to open the clinics. Mark Lauritsen, who is head of the union's food processing and meatpacking division, said other meat processors...