Better late than never, I suppose. But one can’t help but be floored that one of the world’s largest chicken producers did not provide paid sick leave until now.
“Tyson Foods is offering its front-line workers paid sick leave for the first time, part of an agreement that secured union support for its mandate that all U.S. employees get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The meatpacking giant said 90,000 — or 75% — of its 120,000 U.S. workers have now been vaccinated, up from 50% when it announced the mandate on Aug. 3. Workers have until Nov. 1 to get vaccinated, but there are exemptions for medical and religious reasons under agreement with the the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Tyson Foods, which owns the Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm brands, is among the few companies with a large front-line workforce to impose a vaccine mandate so far. Many companies have taken aggressive steps to encourage workers to get the vaccines while avoiding mandates that could worsen a labor shortage.
Under the agreement, Tyson workers can earn up to 20 hours of paid sick leave. They will also get paid time off to get the vaccine and additional time off for any side effects. The UFCW and the RWDSU represent 26,000 Tyson workers, but the Springdale, Arkansas-based company said paid sick leave would extend to all employees.
The UFCW said it was the union’s first time reaching a national agreement to provide paid sick leave for meatpacking workers.
‘Paid sick leave is critical to ensuring workers can get vaccinated without losing a paycheck,’ UFCW Marc Perrone said in a statement. ‘Every company in America must follow Tyson’s lead and act now to guarantee paid leave to help even more of our country’s essential workers get vaccinated as soon as possible.'”
For the rest of the story, visit the Seattle Times here.