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Tyson Foods to require COVID-19 vaccinations for U.S. workforce

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Company also providing $200 to fully vaccinated frontline team members.

To protect team members, their families, and their communities, Tyson Foods, is requiring its team members at U.S. office locations to be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021. All other team members are required to be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021, subject to ongoing discussions with locations represented by unions.

This action makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its entire workforce. Almost half of Tyson Foods’ U.S. workforce has been vaccinated and coronavirus infection rates among team members remain low.

“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the single most effective thing we can do to protect our team members, their families and their communities,” said Dr. Claudia Coplein, chief medical officer at Tyson Foods. “With rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts of contagious, dangerous variants leading to increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalization among the U.S. unvaccinated population, this is the right time to take the next step to ensure a fully vaccinated workforce.”

A memo to Tyson Foods team members from President & CEO Donnie King provided a timeline for employees. Team members must be vaccinated by the following dates:

  • All Tyson leadership (officers and above) by September 24, 2021
    • All team members in office by October 1, 2021
    • All other team members by November 1, 2021
    • All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start date
    • Team members that are members of a union will be subject to the results of union bargaining on this issue

"We did not take this decision lightly. We have spent months encouraging our team members to get vaccinated – today, under half of our team members are. We take this step today because nothing is more important than our team members’ health and safety, and we thank them for the work they do, every day, to help us feed this country, and our world," King noted in the memo. 

Since February, Tyson Foods has hosted more than 100 vaccination events for team members across the country and more than 56,000 U.S. team members have been vaccinated so far. Additional onsite vaccination events will be scheduled, and the company will continue to collaborate with local health departments and healthcare providers to make the vaccine more accessible. 

To support efforts to fully vaccinate all team members, the company will also provide $200 to its frontline team members, subject to ongoing discussions with locations represented by unions. This is an expansion of the company’s existing policy of compensating workers for up to four hours of regular pay if they are vaccinated outside of their normal shift or through an external source. 

Exceptions to the vaccination mandate will involve workers who seek medical or religious accommodation. 

“Tyson Foods and Matrix Medical have worked together since the beginning of this pandemic to develop and implement strategies to mitigate the risk of the virus to Tyson employees and their families, as well as the communities where they live and work,” said Matrix Chief Medical Officer and Group President  Daniel Castillo, M.D., M.B.A. “Matrix clinicians and Tyson team members have worked hand-in-hand to implement a broad array of workplace safety measures at Tyson, and we now feel the rising number of new cases across the U.S. warrants advanced clinical strategies – including requiring vaccinations.”

To date, Tyson Foods has spent more than $700 million related to COVID-19, including on efforts to combat its spread, such as buying masks, face shields and temperature scanners, installing protective barriers and providing on-site testing and vaccinations. It also partnered with an independent medical provider to bring medical services on site, hired an additional 200 nurses and its first Chief Medical Officer. In addition, Tyson Foods has invested countless hours educating our team members, in dozens of languages, about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.

TAGS: Business
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