Meat processors wrestle with worker shortages as US economy reopens from COVID-19

With protein demand soaring, companies like Tyson Foods are offering employees better benefits and flexible hours as they consider wider use of automation throughout their businesses.

 

Christopher Doering, FoodDive

June 9, 2021

 

For Tyson Foods, the onset of the summer grilling season and consumers' return to restaurants has the beef, pork and poultry processing giant preparing for strong demand for its protein-rich offerings.

 

But the upbeat outlook is being tempered by understaffed processing lines at some of its 140 plants amid struggles to attract and retain new workers — a snapshot of the ongoing labor shortages rippling throughout the food industry and other sectors of the U.S. economy.

 

"We definitely have some plants that are struggling a little more than others" when it comes to finding enough workers, said Hector Gonzalez, Tyson's senior vice president of human resources. "If people aren't there, our plants won't run, so it is more challenging these days to see the kind of applicant flow necessary to fill the gaps."

 

To minimize the disruption, Tyson has identified ways to stabilize the company's workforce and improve retention rates — some of which it is already testing out. At least four plants are piloting a work schedule with fewer days but longer daily hours so staff can spend more time at home, or providing employees with 40 hours of pay for 36 hours of work. Tyson also is looking to move more shifts into days or weekdays, rather than Saturday and Sunday evenings, to accommodate workers' preferences...

 

Worker shortage worsened by pandemic ...

 

Surge in meat and poultry demand ...

 

Making automation more enticing ...

 

much more, including links 

https://www.fooddive.com/news/meat-processors-wrestle-with-worker-shortages-as-us-economy-reopens-from-co/