According to a report from the Iowa Capital Dispatch, the lawsuit reveals that upper management at one Tyson plant in Waterloo, IA had a betting pool based on how many of their employees would contract COVID-19.
This allegation is only one of many in the lawsuit, which attempted to paint a picture of the company’s disregard for human life and employee safety. The suit alleges this in the hopes of proving Tyson Foods was responsible for the death of Isidro Fernandez, an employee who passed away in April.
Since the start of the pandemic, as many as five people who worked in the plant have passed away and there are over 1000 workers who tested positive for COVID-19 at the plant, according to the Blackhawk County Health Department.
Despite claims that a manager named Tom Hart ran a winner-take-all betting pool around his employees contracting the coronavirus, Tyson claimed in a statement that their “top priority is the health and safety of our workers and we’ve implemented a host of protective measures at Waterloo and our other facilities that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.”
Fernandez’s family also goes on to allege further disregard for the concerns and safety of workers by management. A manager named John Casey reportedly called the virus a “glorified flu” and stopped one worker who was on the way to be tested, saying “We all have symptoms — you have a job to do.”
In April, Donald Trump ordered processing plants to remain open using his executive powers, in spite of the outbreaks at several facilities. Tyson claims they were operating during the pandemic “at the direction of a federal officer.”