Kenny Stancil | Common Dreams">
A lawsuit alleges that a boss at one facility “organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive.”
During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tyson Foods supervisors bet money on how many workers at a pork processing plant in Iowa would be infected with the lethal coronavirus, according to allegations in a wrongful death lawsuit that critics say reveals the “breathtaking callousness” of corporate managers who put profits over people.
“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.”
—Iowa Capital Dispatch
“This is depraved,” United Farm Workers said in a Twitter thread.
More than 1,000 employees at the company’s facility in Waterloo—over one-third of the plant’s workforce—”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,” the Washington Post reported Thursday.
At least five Waterloo plant employees died as a result.
This is depraved.
“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.” https://t.co/KgxDdOOZtO
— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) November 19, 2020
Family members of Isidro Fernandez, who succumbed to the disease on April 26, sued Tyson earlier this year, accusing the meatpacking company of “willful and wanton disregard for workplace safety.”
“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.”
While the owner of Tyson Foods became $600 million richer during the pandemic, 11,000 of his workers got COVID-19 because they were forced back to work in unsafe and unhealthy plants as managers placed bets on how many would get sick. We must end this disgusting corporate greed.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 19, 2020
While the suit was originally filed in Iowa state court in August, “an amended complaint with new allegations was filed on November 11,” the Post reported.
The Iowa Capital Dispatch detailed the startling new allegations against Tyson and managers at the Waterloo plant:
Critics in April, as Common Dreams reported at the time, called President Donald Trump’s order to keep meatpacking plants open a “death sentence.”
This recent lawsuit filed on behalf of a deceased worker claims that managers at Tyson “turned the risk into a game.”
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