Washington, DC — As Tyson Foods reported its quarterly profits nearly doubled after raising prices on consumers – increases the company blamed in part on labor shortages — government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report finding Tyson is among several meatpackers and major corporations that repeatedly resisted workers’ demands for fair wages, benefits, and safer conditions. Tyson Foods also notably has an alleged history of price-fixing, having agreed to a $221.5 million settlement in January 2021 and a $21 million settlement in September 2021.
Alleged price-fixer Tyson Foods brags that it almost doubled its profits after brazenly suggesting they had no choice but to jack up costs for consumers – and they continue to bring up labor shortages to excuse their profiteering despite their reputation of treating workers poorly during the pandemic. The reality is the big meatpackers and other corporations making obscene profits during the economic recovery are making a choice – a choice to pad their bottom lines rather than keeping prices stable for everyday families. Many corporations are choosing to pump up their executive pay and reward shareholders millions of dollars instead of paying a competitive wage to their workers and passing on their success to consumers. That’s nothing to brag about.”
Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US
Among Accountable.US’ findings, the meat industry’s leading trade group, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), has chafed at the Biden administration and members of Congress criticizing industry for inflation and a labor shortage, despite a recent congressional probe that found troubling working conditions at facilities ran by the “big four” meatpackers, with COVID-19 cases and deaths that were up to three times higher than previously known. NAMI member Tyson had the most deaths and infections of companies surveyed in the congressional report.
In fact, Tyson Foods had “29,462 employee [COVID-19] infections and 151 employee deaths” at its facilities, with one facility having particularly lax safety protocols—including “workers [wearing] masks ‘saturated’ with fluids,” a lack of social distancing, and workers being “separated by ‘plastic bags on frames’ instead of CDC-compliant barriers.”
Previously From Accountable.US: