On Tuesday, the meatpacking giant Tyson Foods announced it will require its 120,000 employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a memo to staff members, CEO Donnie King said, “It is abundantly clear that getting vaccinated is the single most effective thing we can do to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.”
Tysons’s U.S. office workers have until October 1 to be fully vaccinated. Its plant employees have until November 1. Senior corporate executives must be vaccinated by September 24.
“Tyson plans to give front-line workers who get vaccinated the $200 bonus, in addition to the current policy of providing up to four hours of pay for getting inoculated outside of work or through an external provider. The extra pay, as well as the deadline, are subject to talks with unions who represent those employees,” says CNBC.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) represents 24,000 Tysons workers. The union encourages workers to get vaccinated, but wants to ensure workers’ rights are not violated.
“We believe the FDA must provide full approval of the vaccines and help address some of the questions and concerns that workers have,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement to CNBC. “Additionally, employers should provide paid time off so that their essential workers can receive the vaccine without having to sacrifice their pay, and can rest as needed while their body adjusts to the vaccine and strengthens their immune system to fight off the virus.”
Fox Business reports the company has spent more than $700 million on measures to combat COVID-19, including buying masks, face shields, and temperature scanners; installing protective barriers; as well as providing on-site testing and vaccinations. The company has also partnered with a medical provider for on-site services, hired an additional 200 nurses, and its first chief medical officer.
Microsoft, Walmart, and Disney have all introduced similar proof-of-vaccination requirements during the last month.
Tysons will grant exemptions for religious or medical reasons.