For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Seth Gladstone—

Tyson Must Fire Executive Vice Chairman Noel White, Who Was CEO While Plant Managers Bet on Employees’ Lives

WASHINGTON - Following news reports that a plant manager in Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa pork processing plant organized a betting pool to “wager how many employees would test positive for COVID-19,” Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“It is utterly unconscionable that the managers of this Tyson plant would place bets on the lives of their employees. Tyson and other meat processors allegedly forced workers to come into plants without proper personal protection equipment even when the employees had symptoms of COVID-19. Noel White was the chief executive officer of Tyson when this happened. Now a Tyson board member, White must be fired immediately. The executives of these meat companies must be held responsible for many lives lost due to their reckless behavior.”

Food processing plants across the country have been hotbeds for COVID-19 outbreaks. Despite CDC guidance that the working conditions in meat and poultry processing plants “may contribute substantially to [employees] potential exposures” to the coronavirus, companies have resisted calls to issue PPE to employees. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture has used the pandemic as an excuse to issue waivers to processing plants to increase line speeds, thus increasing the danger for employees. 


One Day Left. We Still Need Your Help.

Common Dreams is the nonprofit news source for the 99%
Will you pitch in now to help meet our Winter Campaign goal?

The amended wrongful death lawsuit against Tyson also alleges that supervisors were told to ignore COVID symptoms, that plant supervisors denied the existence of COVID cases, and that the plant paid bonuses to employees who did not miss their assigned shifts -- giving workers a cash incentive to come to work even if they were sick.

Ms. Hauter added: “Congress must also take action against deadly practices at meat corporations. Any stimulus bill must include provisions that protect the workers in processing plants. Congress must pass a moratorium and rescission of line speed waivers, and also mandate an audit of the USDA’s failures to protect workers during the pandemic. Further, the next Congress must call Tyson executives to testify before an oversight hearing into the malicious behavior of their plant managers in Waterloo.”


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

Share This Article