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Tyson Fires Seven Managers At Iowa Pork Plant After COVID-19 Betting Probe

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Meat processor Tyson Foods Inc. terminated seven plant managers at its pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa following completion of the investigations related to a Covid-19 betting.

The company in November had suspended these employees, without pay, after knowing that they allegedly wagered on Covid-19 infections among employees, and pressured workers to stay on the job at the Waterloo facility, its largest U.S. pork plant.

The latest decision follows an independent investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder after a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of a deceased Tyson worker against the company, alleging that managers at the plant organized a betting pool to find out how many employees would contract the infection.

Tyson Foods President & CEO Dean Banks now said, "We were very upset to learn of the behaviors found in the allegations, as we expect our leaders to treat all team members with the highest levels of respect and integrity.... The behaviors exhibited by these individuals do not represent the Tyson core values, which is why we took immediate and appropriate action to get to the truth."

In a statement, the company said it is taking steps to open more communication channels to hear team member voices; to create a working group of local community leaders to strengthen collaboration; and to reinforce the importance of its core values and team behaviors.

In June, Tyson Foods had said its 815 workers were found to be Covid-19 positive at the facility-wide testing in two Iowa plants in Council Bluffs and Storm Lake.

The latest decision comes as Tyson Fresh Meats temporarily shut down production at its Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant for a few days due to a mechanical malfunction in the refrigeration system. The plant employs approximately 1,100 team members.

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