Nation’s Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Goes Inside Arkansas Meat Processing Facility to See Worker Conditions
LULAC's Face-To-Face Talk WIth Tyson Foods
WASHINGTON - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today announced that it held the first round of face-to-face talks with Tyson Foods as well as completed a walkthrough of the company’s facility in Springdale, Arkansas to see what steps were being taken to protect worker safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“The enemy here is the coronavirus,” says Domingo Garcia, National President. “So, we traveled to the headquarters of TYSON Foods to make it clear to the company that nothing is more important to LULAC than worker safety. Then, we went inside one of their biggest plants in the country ourselves, to observe firsthand and talk to employees to find out what the company is doing to fight the virus that is infecting Juan y Maria, our nation’s essential workers in the meatpacking industry,” added Garcia.
LULAC was asked to tour the Berry Street plant to see the investment that Tyson says it has been making to create a safer working environment for its employees, as well as the additional efforts underway to further protect the health and safety of its workers.
The LULAC team met with Noel White, CEO of Tyson Foods, who reviewed specific operational actions taken by the company as COVID-19 began to sweep across the United States. LULAC also learned of other changes being made in response to the influx of new information about the virus. Garcia spoke with White about a series of community demands centered around five areas of concern: regular free testing of all workers for COVID-19, complete personal protection equipment, line speed to labor adjustments, compensation for infected workers undergoing care, and assistance to families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus.
Evaluating The Preexisting Safety Protocols
After evaluating the preexisting safety protocols, LULAC acknowledged those endeavors and agreed with Tyson to further dialogue in the future as more progress is made. Some of those present standards closely align with the community demands outlined by Garcia, including screenings upon plant entry, temperature checks for employees, ubiquitous in-language signage, an obligatory mask policy, social distance marker placements, dedicated cleaning for common areas, and hands-free water and sanitizer stations.
Tyson outlined to LULAC the company’s ongoing efforts to make their plants safer nationwide. Some of these efforts involve COVID-19 onsite testing, contact tracing and health support, research and development for superior ventilated masks, over $100 million in bonus pay, hunger relief, and infrastructure across Tyson plants, and cooperation with local health agencies enabling Tyson to go beyond the CDC and OSHA’s recommended procedures.
“LULAC’s number one priority is taking every action we can to protect tens of thousands of workers to the fullest extent possible with what we know about the virus,” said Garcia. “What we have seen confirms Tyson is making significant changes and investments to improve worker safety and America’s food supply. LULAC will work with TYSON Foods and other meat processing companies that are taking every possible step to protect their employees. Our joint goal needs to be helping save as many people as possible from COVID-19. We are going to do what LULAC has done for 91 years: get the job done."
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/