In this file:
· Lawsuit: Tyson managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19
· Tyson Foods manager had betting pool for how many workers would get COVID-19: suit
· Tyson Foods managers had a ‘winner-take-all’ bet on how many workers would get covid-19, lawsuit alleges
· Tyson Foods Accused Of Betting Money On How Many Workers Would Contract COVID-19
Lawsuit: Tyson managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19
Clark Kaufman, Iowa Capital Dispatch
via The Courier (IA) - Nov 18, 2020
WATERLOO -- A wrongful death lawsuit tied to COVID-19 infections in a Waterloo pork processing plant alleges that during the initial stages the pandemic, Tyson Foods ordered employees to report for work while supervisors privately wagered money on the number of workers who would be sickened by the deadly virus.
Earlier this year, the family of the late Isidro Fernandez sued the meatpacking company, alleging Fernandez was exposed to the coronavirus at the Waterloo plant where he worked. The lawsuit alleges Tyson Foods is guilty of a “willful and wanton disregard for workplace safety.”
Fernandez, who died April 20, was one of at least five Waterloo plant employees who died of the virus. According to the Black Hawk County Health Department, more than 1,000 workers at the plant — over a third of the facility’s workforce — contracted the virus.
The lawsuit, reported by the Iowa Capital Dispatch, alleges that despite the uncontrolled spread of the virus at the plant, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions without providing the appropriate personal protective equipment and without ensuring workplace-safety measures were followed.
The lawsuit was recently amended and includes a number of new allegations against the company and plant officials. Among them:
· In mid-April, around the time Black Hawk County Sherriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and reported the working conditions there “shook [him] to the core,” plant manager Tom Hart organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive for COVID-19.
· John Casey, an upper-level manager at the plant, is alleged to have explicitly directed supervisors to ignore symptoms of COVID-19, telling them to show up to work even if they were exhibiting symptoms of the virus. Casey reportedly referred to COVID-19 as the “glorified flu” and told workers not to worry about it because “it’s not a big deal” and “everyone is going to get it.” On one occasion, Casey intercepted a sick supervisor who was on his way to be tested and ordered him to get back to work, saying, “We all have symptoms — you have a job to do.” After one employee vomited on the production line, managers reportedly allowed the man to continue working and then return to work the next day.
· In late March or early April, as the pandemic spread across Iowa, managers at the Waterloo plant reportedly began avoiding the plant floor for fear of contracting the virus. As a result, they increasingly delegated managerial authority and responsibilities to low-level supervisors who had no management training or experience. The supervisors did not require truck drivers and subcontractors to have their temperatures checked before entering the plant.
· In March and April, plant supervisors falsely denied the existence of any confirmed cases or positive tests for COVID-19 within the plant, and allegedly told workers they had a responsibility to keep working to ensure Americans didn’t go hungry as the result of a shutdown.
· Tyson paid out $500 “thank you bonuses” to employees who turned up for every scheduled shift for three months — a policy decision that allegedly incentivized sick workers to continue reporting for work.
· Tyson executives allegedly lobbied Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for COVID-19 liability protections that would shield the company from lawsuits, and successfully lobbied the governor to declare that only the state government, not local governments, had the authority to close businesses in response to the pandemic.
Tyson has yet to file a response to the new allegations, and did not respond to a call from the Iowa Capital Dispatch. In previous court filings, Tyson said...
Tyson Foods manager had betting pool for how many workers would get COVID-19: suit
By Ben Feuerherd, New York Post
November 18, 2020
The manager of a Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Iowa organized a winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors to wager on how many workers at the facility would contract COVID-19 around the start of the pandemic, a new lawsuit charges.
The manager of the Waterloo pork plant, Tom Hart, allegedly set up the sadistic wager as coronavirus spread through the company’s facilities around the globe and workers crowded into the Iowa plant without face masks or other protective equipment.
In the federal lawsuit filed in Iowa, the son of a plant worker who died of coronavirus, alleges Hart and other supervisors steered clear of the plant floor in late March and early April “because they were afraid of contracting the virus.”
“Around this time, Defendant Tom Hart, the Plant Manager of the Waterloo Facility, organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many employees would test positive for COVID-19,” the suit states.
On April 12, more than two dozen workers at the plant were hospitalized with coronavirus, according to the suit.
The plant remained open despite repeated calls from local officials to stop production, the suit states, and supervisors were encouraged to work even if they had symptoms of the deadly virus.
On one occasion, a top plant official, “intercepted a sick supervisor en-route to get tested and ordered the supervisor to get back to work, adding, ‘we all have symptoms—you have a job to do’,” the suit alleges...
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Tyson Foods managers had a ‘winner-take-all’ bet on how many workers would get covid-19, lawsuit alleges
By Katie Shepherd, The Washington Post
November 19, 2020
As the novel coronavirus ripped through a pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, in April, Tyson Foods supervisors not only kept the facility open — they also placed bets on how many workers would catch the virus, a recent wrongful death lawsuit claims.
More than 1,000 employees eventually tested positive amid the outbreak, which eventually shut down the meat-processing plant and spurred harsh condemnations from local officials who said the company had failed to provide the necessary protections for its workforce.
Isidro Fernandez, who worked in the Waterloo facility, was one of the workers who fell ill in April. He died on April 26 from complications of covid-19, the lawsuit says. At least five other employees at the plant died, the Associated Press reported.
Fernandez’s son, Oscar Fernandez, sued Tyson Foods earlier this year over the conditions in the plant and allegations that the company misinformed workers about the extent and severity of the outbreak.
“Despite an uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreak, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions,” the lawsuit alleges. “Moreover, despite the danger of COVID-19, Tyson failed to provide appropriate personal protective equipment and failed to implement sufficient social distancing or safety measures to protect workers from the outbreak.”
The suit was first filed in August, and an amended complaint with new allegations was filed on Nov. 11. In addition to failing to properly prevent the spread of the virus, Tyson Foods managers turned the risk into a game, the amended complaint alleges.
One of the plant managers allegedly “organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many employees would test positive for COVID-19,” according to the lawsuit.
Early in the pandemic, U.S. meat-processing plants struggled to contain outbreaks inside their facilities, where employees normally work in proximity. Complaints surfaced in the spring that the many of the nation’s largest meat-processing companies had failed to provide masks to workers who could not maintain at least six feet of distance from co-workers during long shifts. Tyson Foods was forced to shut down several facilities, including the Waterloo plant, for weeks.
A Tyson spokesman declined to comment on the allegations made in Fernandez’s suit. But a spokesman pointed to new precautions...
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Tyson Foods Accused Of Betting Money On How Many Workers Would Contract COVID-19
The lawsuit is tied to an Iowa pork plant where more than 1,000 workers became sick and at least five died of the virus after being forced to report for work.
By Sanjana Karanth, HuffPost
A wrongful death lawsuit tied to COVID-19 infections at Tyson Foods’ largest pork processing plant accuses the meatpacking giant of ordering employees to come to work while supervisors privately bet money on how many would get infected with the deadly coronavirus.
The family of Isidro Fernandez filed the lawsuit in August saying that Fernandez was exposed to the virus when he reported for work at the Tyson plant in Waterloo, Iowa. Fernandez died in April from COVID-19 complications, leaving behind a wife and children, according to the lawsuit.
Fernandez was one of at least five Waterloo plant employees who died of the virus. More than 1,000 workers ― over a third of the facility’s workforce ― became infected, according to the Black Hawk County Health Department. The lawsuit, filed in Black Hawk County, claims Tyson is guilty of a “willful and wanton disregard for workplace safety” and accuses the company of endangering employees by downplaying virus concerns and covering up the outbreak in order to keep them working.
As first reported by the Iowa Capital Dispatch, the lawsuit was recently amended to include new allegations against the company and plant officials. One of them is that supervisors at the Waterloo plant began wagering money on how many workers would get COVID-19.
The lawsuit reportedly accuses plant manager Tom Hart of organizing a cash buy-in, winner-takes-all betting pool for supervisors and managers in mid-April to guess how many plant employees would test positive after being forced to report for work. According to the Capital Dispatch’s review of the amended suit, the reported betting pool occurred around the time that Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and said the working conditions “shook [him] to the core.”
Another new allegation reportedly details how upper-level plant manager John Casey explicitly told supervisors to continue showing up to work even if they were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, referring to the deadly virus as a “glorified flu” and telling workers “everyone is going to get it.” According to the lawsuit, Casey stopped a sick supervisor on their way to getting tested and ordered them back to work, saying, “You have a job to do.” Managers reportedly allowed one employee who vomited on the production line to continue working and return to work the next day, according to the suit.
Tyson Foods did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. The company has previously said that it denies the original allegations, moving the lawsuit to federal court on claims that it remained open because of President Donald Trump’s April order requiring plants to stay open in order to maintain the nation’s meat supply.
The Tyson plant eventually did close after reports that it fueled a massive coronavirus outbreak in Waterloo. More than 180 infections were linked to the plant at the time of closure, according to the Black Hawk County Health Department. The plant employs 2,800 workers...
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