Some Tyson Foods workers voice concern over safety and lack of pay


by Kim Souza, Talk Business & Politics

Sep 6, 2021


Poultry-worker advocate group Venceramos of Arkansas has been floating petitions around Tyson Foods’ chicken plants in Northwest Arkansas asking for better COVID-19 pandemic-related working conditions to include paid leave, contact tracing and quarantining.


Magaly Licolli, executive director at Venceremos, spoke to Talk Business & Politics on Sept. 3 regarding concerns Tyson workers have about their safety and their need to earn a living without jeopardizing their health. Licolli said workers will take the petition to Tyson’s corporate headquarters in Springdale on Wednesday (Sept 8).


She said the protocol Tyson has put into place may sound good but in practice, it does not work. She said workers have reported the scanners Tyson put into place are not an effective way to signal COVID infections as many cases are asymptomatic. Another concern is the partitions Tyson said it has put in place to protect line workers. Licolli claims other areas such as break rooms and restrooms do not allow for social distancing among workers.


Outside of the COVID safety issues, Licolli said workers seek higher pay given the line speeds have increased and they are working faster with fewer breaks to keep up with food demand.


“Tyson gave a $2 per hour raise to first shift workers recently and second and third shift workers got $4 per hour. There are workers who have been with Tyson Foods for a decade and still earning less than $14 per hour. New hires are getting paid more than other line workers who have been there for years. There is no incentive for workers to stay,” she said...