August 31, 2017
Tyson Foods, the largest poultry company in the country, announced this April its commitment to improve worker conditions in its processing plants. The initiative came in reaction to a campaign led by Oxfam that focused on reporting the terrible conditions in the processing plants of four major poultry companies: Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms.
Tyson Foods has committed to:
- Improve worker compensation and benefits
- Improve health and safety training and policies related to rest and bathroom breaks
- Increase worker engagement
- Make public the results of third-party plant audits
“Tyson is stepping up as the clear leader in the industry, setting new standards on a number of levels—including labor practices—that raise the bar for the rest of the industry to follow or fall further behind,” said Minor Sinclair, the director of the US domestic program at Oxfam.
According to a Harvest Public Media investigation, the more than half a million men and women working in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants have some of the most dangerous factory jobs in America. The line speeds are so fast that some workers are affected for life with repetitive motion problems.
Tyson Foods employees slaughter, dismember, and package roughly one fifth of all of the beef, chicken, and pork produced in the U.S. The company will now be working to achieve a 15 percent year-over-year reduction injuries and illnesses, as well as a 10 percent improvement in employee turnover, with the eventual goal of reaching zero for both, according to Bloomberg.