Tyson Foods require all 120,000 of its employees in the United States to be vaccinated. The company is the second largest processor and distributor of chicken, beef and pork in the world. About 56,000 of the employees have already been vaccinated.
Tyson, the name behind iconic brands Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm, has faced deadly virus outbreaks in its factories. The food processor will now be one of the first large employers of frontline workers to adopt this policy. The company will also offer a bonus of $ 200 to frontline workers who get vaccinated.
Tyson CEO Donnie King said in a note to employees, that as the Delta variant and perhaps other strains may increase across the United States, “it is quite clear that getting the vaccine is the most effective thing we can do to protect ourselves, our families. and our communities “.
In April 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, Forbes editor Lisette Voytko wrote about the general public sentiment praising frontline workers for all the health risks to which they are subjected. She said in the article “According to [Governor Andrew] Cuomo, 41% of New York’s frontline workers are people of color, with women making up two-thirds of front-line workers, while one-third come from low-income households, “and they are expected to increase” premiums. risk for frontline workers with a 50% premium. ”
The American public praised the frontline workers for their heroism and bravery. Over time, in the same way that we stopped hitting pots in New York to celebrate nurses and medical professionals, we also forgot about workers in factories, poultry factories, warehouses, centers. distribution, supermarkets, restaurants, retail stores and other customers. the roles. Over time, many companies that relied on low-wage workers did not push them to get the vaccine.
It’s different with white collar workers. Dozens of companies have announced vaccination warrants. The companies run the gamut from leading investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to Delta and United Airlines. Tech titans such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook are instituting vaccines required too much.
It is in stark contrast to the blue colored factory and catering workers. Those Americans who were once considered brave are most at risk from the virus because of their regular proximity to people.
The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a survey which found that vaccination rates were closely related to both education and income levels. College graduates responded that 79% said they had already received at least one dose. While those who did not have a college degree said only 59% of them had received at least one dose. About 74% of adults earning $ 90,000 reported having received a dose. Only 63% earning less than $ 40,000 per year received an injection.
Walmart highlights this gap. The largest employer in the United States has said company employees must be vaccinated by October 4, but there is no corresponding executive order for its 1.6 million low-wage American workers. However, the big box retailer is offering bonuses of $ 150 to store and warehouse workers for getting vaccinated.
That’s why Tyson’s decision matters. Hopefully other companies that depend on at-risk workers will start trying to get their employees vaccinated as well.