SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Tyson Foods has announced that it would strengthen the benefits it offers its fully vaccinated U.S. frontline team members. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, fully vaccinated team members can begin earning up to 20 hours of paid sick leave per year. New hires will also receive one week of vacation after six months of employment.
“These measures are the latest examples of our ongoing efforts to make Tyson the most sought-after place to work, while reinforcing the importance of team members’ health and safety,” said Johanna Söderström, the executive vice president and chief human resources officer of Tyson Foods.
The new policies come on top of recent compensation improvements, which have included pay increases and other incentives as well as referral and signing bonuses. The average base pay plus benefits for Tyson’s U.S. production workers is currently valued at more than $22 per hour, which includes medical, vision and dental benefits. Tyson is also piloting flexible work schedules at its production facilities and has introduced health clinics at seven locations to allow easy and free access to health care.
Tyson continues to provide its U.S. workers with free, on-site access to COVID-19 vaccinations. Continuing vaccination events are scheduled throughout the country to offer all team members the vaccine in time for the November 1 deadline. The company is also giving $200 as a thank you to fully vaccinated frontline team members as well as giving out more than $6 million in sweepstakes to incentivize vaccinations. It is also conducting an extensive outreach campaign to educate and inform team members about the COVID-19 vaccinations.
These efforts are working, the company said, adding that more than 90,000 (or more than 75 percent) of the company’s U.S. team members have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Over 30,000 team members have been vaccinated since the company announced its requirement in early August.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and the affiliated Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), have discussed the vaccine roll-out with the company and announced that they support Tyson Foods’ vaccination requirement. The UFCW and RWDSU represent more than 80 percent of the 31,000 Tyson Foods’ workers in the U.S. who are unionized.
“As the largest union for Tyson Foods workers across the country, UFCW’s first priority is to keep these essential workers safe on the job as the COVID-19 Delta surge continues, and we recognize the need to do more,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said. “UFCW and Tyson agree these policies will ensure these workers have the paid leave they need as they continue to keep our food supply chain secure. We will continue to strongly encourage our members employed by Tyson Foods to get vaccinated if they have not already, and we are calling on companies across the industry to follow Tyson’s lead with similar policies that put the safety of essential workers first as this pandemic continues.”
“We’re pleased that the UFCW and RWDSU are joining us in taking this important step,” Söderström said. “Getting vaccinated remains the single most effective thing we can do to fight this pandemic and continue to help feed this country and our world.”
Other measures Tyson Foods is taking to support U.S. frontline workers during the vaccination process include:
- Providing paid administrative leave for up to two weeks for employees who are fully vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19 over the next six months.
- Compensating workers for time spent in educational sessions about the benefits and risks of the COVID vaccines.