Covid vaccine mandate led to 96 % of Tyson employees getting the shot, firm says

OMAHA, Neb. — Meatpacking big Tyson Foods says greater than 96 % of its employees have been vaccinated forward of the corporate’s Nov. 1 deadline for them to take action.

The firm primarily based in Springdale, Arkansas, stated the variety of its 120,000 employees who’ve been vaccinated has almost doubled because it introduced its mandate on Aug. 3. At that time, solely 50 % of Tyson employees had been vaccinated.

“This is an incredible result — not only for our company, but for your families and our communities across the country, ” Tyson President and CEO Donnie King stated in a notice to workers Tuesday.

Tyson, which has lengthy been coping with employee shortages, stated workers who don’t get vaccinated earlier than the corporate’s deadline shall be fired, however that the previous workers shall be welcomed again in the event that they do get vaccinated later.

“I’d also like to say to those who remain unvaccinated — this is your choice, and we respect that choice,” King stated. “If you change your mind and want to rejoin Tyson — let us know. Our doors are open.”

Spokesman Gary Mickelson stated only a few workers have left the corporate thus far due to the mandate.

The trade was hit laborious by the pandemic within the spring of 2020 when the virus tore by means of meatpacking vegetation and compelled the non permanent closure of lots of them as a result of so many employees grew to become unwell or needed to quarantine. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union stated a minimum of 132 of its members died from the virus in the course of the outbreaks and one other 22,400 of them have been contaminated or uncovered.

King stated Tyson noticed a big decline within the variety of virus instances in its workforce as extra workers acquired vaccinated.

Tyson stays the one main firm within the meatpacking trade to require vaccinations. The different meat giants resembling JBS, Cargill and Smithfield Foods, have been counting on efforts to encourage employees to get vaccinated.

The UFCW union praised Tyson’s progress with vaccinations as a result of the mandate got here with an settlement to supply 20 hours of paid sick depart to all the corporate’s workers. The mandate additionally included exceptions for medical and non secular causes, nevertheless it wasn’t instantly clear what number of of these exceptions Tyson granted.

“We urge every company, across this country, to do what is right by their frontline workers and work cooperatively with their unions and employees to help end this pandemic and keep all of America’s essential workers and their families safe,” UFCW President Marc Perrone stated.

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