After Tyson Agreement, The Fight For Worker Justice At Poultry Processing Plants Must Continue

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CHICAGO (April 26, 2017)  “Tyson’s recent agreement committing to improve worker safety, compensation, and the right to organize offer working people the opportunity to organize for their rights opens a door for the continued worker-led campaign for dignity and respect in poultry processing plants in Arkansas and across the nation,” said Magaly Licolli, Executive Director of Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center.

“Given the corporation’s history of serious health and safety violations and its lack of accountability to workers’ rights, the Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center (NWAWJC) will be ready to hold Tyson accountable to their commitments to workers’ rights the moment they waiver.  

“The poultry industry employs 300,000 workers nationally and produces $42.8 billion in sales every year. Tyson’s headquarters are located in Springdale and the company dominates the economic landscape. More than 20% of Tyson’s U.S.-based employees work in Arkansas.

“NWAWJC has been proudly working with poultry workers in Rogers, Siloam Springs, and Springdale, Arkansas to change Tyson’s abusive policies and everyday we hear horrible stories of labor violations and poor working conditions at poultry processing plants. These workers and the majority of Tyson’s workers across the country did not have a say in these negotiations.

“We hope that in future negotiations with poultry companies like Tyson, there is more inclusion of the voices of the working people who stand to gain or lose the most from these agreements.”  

"Tyson has proven to have a blatant disregard for workers’ rights. We hope that this turns a new leaf in corporate history,” said Jose Oliva, Co-Director of Food Chain Workers Alliance, “Though the agreement isn't perfect, if implemented it's a step in the right direction for a company that has the potential to move the entire industry toward better standards for workers."

“Poultry workers in Arkansas believe that Tyson’s willingness to negotiate on these issues is clear evidence of Tyson’s culpability in the widespread abuse of working people under its employ,” said Laura Barrett, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. “This agreement would not have happened without years of working people organizing to challenge and pressure Tyson. That organizing will continue until all workers enjoy dignity and respect at work.”