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USA: Advocacy groups file complaint with Federal Trade Commission urging investigation of Tyson for false labour claims; incl. company comments

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30 July 2020

Advocacy groups demand FTC investigate Tyson for false labor claims

Author: Venceremos & Food & Water Watch

The complaint states, in part: "As a large and growing number of consumers become keenly interested in avoiding purchasing products that are produced by way of unsafe or unethical labor practices, producers like Tyson have sat up and taken note… For example, on its website, social media accounts, and in its Sustainability Report, Tyson falsely claims its contract growers are “independent farmers” and “family farmers” working in a system that is “transparent and offers long-term stability to farmers.” Tyson also falsely claims that it is “committed to improving the health and safety” of its slaughterhouse workers, and that “ensuring all of these tasks are done in the safest manner is its utmost priority.” In reality, however, Tyson’s contract growers have little to no freedom to make decisions for their chickens and barns, and are kept “in a state of indebted servitude” while under contract."

... “Every day I hear dreadful stories about how Tyson treats its workers, who often express they’re treated worse than the chicken they process. The lack of protections for workers has been exacerbated during the pandemic by the inadequate response of Tyson to protect workers from the deadly virus,” said Magaly Licolli, Director of Venceremos. “It’s completely unacceptable to allow Tyson to continue misleading consumers and the public about how they treat workers. The FTC must investigate Tyson’s advertising and compel them to either remove unsupported claims about the work environment or act immediately and adequately to support those claims, providing the necessary conditions for worker’s health and safety.”

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30 July 2020

Consumer groups challenge “deceptive” Tyson ads that brag about worker safety

Author: Sam Bloch, The Counter

A worker coalition in Arkansas and a Washington, D.C.-based environmental nonprofit have asked the government to stop Tyson Foods, one of America’s biggest meat companies, from advertising to the public that its workers are “safer than ever.” In a complaint filed today with the Federal Trade Commission... allege that the meat giant makes workplace safety claims that are “egregiously misleading” consumers.

... [Tyson] says that it ensures “safe and healthy” workplaces, but the complainants say that’s not true. Tyson has reported more severe injuries than all but two other companies since 2015, and had more Covid-19 cases than any other meatpacker during the pandemic. Nor could the company be “committed to improving the health and safety” of its workers, as it claims, because it hasn’t implemented social distancing at workstations or slowed down line speeds, two actions that federal agencies have recommended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

... When asked for comment, a Tyson spokesman did not address the allegations made by Venceremos and Food and Water Watch, but directed The Counter to an announcement that the company has tested “nearly a third of its workforce” and plans to deploy 200 additional nurses and administrative staff to test “thousands of workers every week” across all facilities, and screen for symptoms. The company said that less than 1 percent of its American workforce of 120,000 currently has the disease. 

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