Tyson Foods says that labor unions agreed to support its requirement for U.S. employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November. Reuters says the company will offer new benefits to workers including paid sick leave. Companies like Tyson have been trying to give employees incentives to get vaccinated through bonuses and other benefits as the Delta Strain pushes case numbers higher. Tyson Inc., which sells the most meat in the country, said in early August that American workers must get vaccinated, though the requirement for unionized plant workers was subject to negotiations.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, who together represent more than 80 percent of Tyson’s 31,000 unionized workers, say they now support the company’s effort. The UFCW, America’s largest meatpacking union, says it secured 20 hours of paid sick leave per year for Tyson employees as part of the negotiations on the mandate. The company says more than 90,000 employees, about 75 percent of its U.S. workforce of 120,000, have received at least one dose of a vaccine, up from about 56,000 before the mandate. The union says some workers can be exempt from the mandate for religious or medical reasons.