A new national agreement between IUF affiliates UFCW & RWDSU and Tyson Foods, the meat and poultry processing giant, includes the first national paid sick leave agreement for US meatpacking workers as well as a vaccine mandate that applies to the 120,000 U.S.-based employees of Tyson.
In early 2021, UFCW launched a national vaccine campaign, hosting community vaccine clinics in California, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and many other states to help essential workers get vaccinated and protect their families. The UFCW organized digital vaccine education town halls with Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the US President, as well as health experts from other leading agencies, to answer questions from workers hesitant about the vaccine with a focus on Latino and African-American workers who have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19.
- Tyson workers will be able to earn up to 20 hours of paid sick leave as an outcome of the union’s negotiations
- The UFCW and RWDSU are calling for similar paid sick leave policies for all companies across the industry to ensure that more frontline workers can access the vaccine without fear of losing pay
- Under this agreement, the Tyson vaccine mandate will include exemptions on medical and religious grounds and includes other protections
In announcing the deal, UFCW International President Marc Perrone stated, “Vaccine mandates, like all COVID workplace safety policies, must be negotiated with workers to build the trust and strong consensus needed for these safeguards to be effective. This historic agreement helps to ensure policies like paid leave are not just helping us increase vaccinations during the pandemic, but are also permanent improvements that strengthen these jobs and protect these workers for years to come.”