Content ID


Tyson Foods fires seven in Covid betting pool

The biggest U.S. meat processor, Tyson Foods, said on Wednesday that it had fired seven management employees at its hog slaughter plant in Waterloo, Iowa, following allegations that plant manager Tom Hart had organized a betting pool over how many of the plant’s employees would become ill with COVID-19. The dismissals resulted from an outside investigation, financed by Tyson, into the allegations, which were part of a lawsuit filed by the family of a Waterloo worker who died of the disease.

More than 1,000 employees, about a third of the workforce at the plant, eventually contracted COVID-19, and at least five of them died. The family of Isidro Fernandez filed a wrongful death suit against Tyson, accusing it of “disregard for workplace safety.” The lawsuit said the meatpacker had ordered employees to work during the early stages of the pandemic and at the same time there was a winner-take-all pool over how many illnesses would occur.

Tyson suspended an unspecified number of supervisors a month ago and hired an international law firm to investigate the matter. “Now that the investigation has concluded, we are taking action based on the findings,” said chief executive Dean Banks in a statement. “We were very upset to learn of the behaviors found in the allegations… That’s why we have asked former Attorney General Eric Holder and his team to partner with Tyson to help us as we continue to look for ways to enhance a trusting and respectful workplace.”

Holder was in charge of the investigation into the betting pool.

Banks was in Waterloo on Wednesday “to meet with Waterloo team members and community leaders to reinforce Tyson’s commitment to them and the community,” said the meat company, which is based in Springdale, Arkansas.

The Waterloo plant can slaughter 19,500 head a day, the highest slaughter capacity of any Tyson pork plant.

As of midday Wednesday, at least 51,433 meatpacking workers had tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 262 of them had died, according to data compiled by the Food and Environment Reporting Network.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
Read more about

Talk in Marketing

Most Recent Poll

To meet my machinery needs in the next year, I’m

holding off on buying and working with what I have
43% (33 votes)
I just want to see the responses
28% (21 votes)
looking online for deals
13% (10 votes)
sticking to my dealership
9% (7 votes)
hitting the auction market
7% (5 votes)
Total votes: 76