The industrial meat complex has not fared well in its handling of employee coronavirus concerns and keeping its workers safe, but Tyson Foods appeared to have raised the bar on misconduct last month. Two new lawsuits target the meat packing giant’s Waterloo, Iowa plant and vary in scope from appalling to outright abhorrent.
In one complaint, a federal lawsuit alleges that senior managers at the facility lied to language interpreters who were communicating information about COVID infections and safety to the plant’s largely immigrant workforce. The lawsuit, which was filed after three workers at the plant died of COVID-19 infection, alleges that plant manager Tom Hart and facility HR director James Hook informed their interpreters that the location had “no confirmed cases” of the virus and that representatives from the county health department had “cleared” the location for operations.
The reality of both situations was the complete opposite. According to the Des Moines Register, employees at the plant had, in fact, tested positive for the novel coronavirus and rather than being cleared for operation, health officials working for Black Hawk County were actually lobbying to have the facility shut down.
Unfortunately, for those who believe that’s about as low as you can get when it comes to concern for the health and wellbeing of your workforce (to say nothing of just acting like a human being), Tom Hart would like you to know just how low you can actually go if you try hard enough. Hart is at the center of a second lawsuit which alleges that he was central to organizing “winner take all” betting pools among other managers in which the executives would bet on how many of their employees would be sickened by COVID-19.
Certain posts we write on this blog benefit from having additional information added to them to provide context or to lend the potential for an additional level of understanding. This not one of those posts. In the midst of a global pandemic that has killed over 1.5 million people around the world, Tom Hart – a manager at the Waterloo, Iowa Tyson Foods plant – ran a betting ring for managers to wager on how many of their own employees would fall ill to a deadly virus.
Nothing else really needs to be said.