Tyson supervisors at a pork processing facility in Waterloo, Iowa took bets on how many workers would get infected with Covid-19, even as they took measures to protect themselves and denied knowledge of the spread of the illness at work, according to new allegations in a lawsuit against the company and some employees.
Hart allegedly organized the pool last spring as the virus spread through the plant, ultimately infecting more than 1,000 of its 2,800 workers, killing at least six and sending many others to the hospital.
Fernandez's son, Oscar Fernandez, sued Tyson Foods earlier this year over the conditions in the plant and allegations that the company misinformed workers about the extent and severity of the outbreak.
In April, Donald Trump ordered processing plants to remain open using his executive powers, in spite of the outbreaks at several facilities.
Tyson Foods is at the end of a new wrongful death lawsuit because of claims the frozen food company have been hotbeds of COVID-19 infection throughout the course of the pandemic. "Moreover, despite the danger of Covid-19, Tyson failed to provide appropriate personal protective equipment and failed to implement sufficient social distancing or safety measures to protect workers from the outbreak". This summer, the company announced it was hiring a chief medical officer and adding nearly 200 nurses and support staff to combat the virus.
One allegations in the lawsuit: "In mid-April, around the time Black Hawk County Sherriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and reported the working conditions there 'shook [him] to the core, ' plant manager Tom Hart organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive for COVID-19". The lawsuit says managers started avoiding the plant floor in March, delegating authority to low-level supervisors who lacked the proper experience.
The company has denied numerous allegations, although their comments have not specifically addressed the alleged betting pool.
Tyson, in a written statement, said it was "saddened by the loss of any Tyson team member and sympathize with their families".
Tyson Foods has two major facilities in Alabama, at Albertville and Blountsville, as well as smaller facilities.