Tyson's income surges on the back of low wages, wage theft, denied sick leave and discrimination
The world's largest poultry processing company saw its net income soar by 49 percent in 2015. Just as shareholders heard their good news, the Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center (NWAWJC) released a report describing the appalling conditions and everyday struggles that face the poultry workers who make this money for Tyson.
The NWAWJC surveyed 500 workers and found 62% of them reported wage theft from their meagre average annual salary of $28,792.
Money disappears from debit cards used instead of pay checks, workers pay for their own protective gear and some report having to 'clock out' when machinery breaks down.
Over 90% of Latino and foreign born workers have never been offered a promotion.
Women described how supervisors deny bathroom breaks to keep up production.
With no sick days, workers are under pressure to show up sick, risking contamination of colleagues and meat products.
The report concludes that to bring about lasting change in the poultry sector, workers must organize. Poultry and meat processing workers in other places have joined the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW). These workers have seen safety conditions improve, with union stewards now monitoring line speeds. Wages have gone up. Protections against unlawful termination have been put in place, and paid holidays are now guaranteed.