store shelves with packed red meat

Tyson Workers’ Families Fight for Justice After COVID Tragedy

Read­ing Time: 2 min­utes

Last Updat­ed on Decem­ber 28, 2023 

Covid and Workers Comp Rights

Remem­ber back in 2020, when the world locked down to fight the scary new virus? Well, for some work­ers at Tyson meat­pack­ing plants, the dan­ger was­n’t just out­side – it was right along­side them at work. Sad­ly, some of these work­ers even lost their lives to COVID-19. Now, their fam­i­lies are fight­ing for jus­tice in court, and the bat­tle is fierce.

What Happened?

In the spring of 2020, Tyson plants stayed open even as the virus raged. The fam­i­lies of work­ers say Tyson boss­es mis­led employ­ees about the dan­gers and did­n’t do enough to pro­tect them. They claim there was even gam­bling among man­agers about how many work­ers would get sick!

Why is This a Big Deal?

Los­ing a loved one is nev­er easy, but when you think their death could have been pre­vent­ed, it’s even hard­er. These fam­i­lies want to hold Tyson account­able and make sure oth­er work­ers don’t suf­fer the same fate. Plus, this case could set a prece­dent for how com­pa­nies have to han­dle employ­ee safe­ty dur­ing future crises.

The Legal Tangles:

There’s a twist. Nor­mal­ly, work injuries fall under work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion, which gives fam­i­lies some mon­ey but lim­its their options for suing the com­pa­ny. These fam­i­lies want to sue Tyson in reg­u­lar court, where they could win big­ger dam­ages and hold the com­pa­ny respon­si­ble for wrongdoing.

The Fight in Court:

Tyson fought fight­ing hard to keep the cas­es in work­ers’ comp. They argue that they were just fol­low­ing orders from the gov­ern­ment to keep food pro­duc­tion going. They even took their case all the way to the Supreme Court, but lost. So now, the fight is back in Iowa state courts.

What’s Next?

The fam­i­lies’ lawyers are ask­ing the judge to recon­sid­er his deci­sion to dis­miss the law­suits. If he lets them go for­ward, the lawyers could get to inter­view Tyson exec­u­tives and gath­er more evi­dence. This could make it hard­er for Tyson to hide any­thing and could lead to a big­ger pay­out for the families.

Why This Matters for You:

This case isn’t just about these families. 

  • It’s about all work­ers and the right to a safe work­place.
  • It’s about hold­ing com­pa­nies account­able and mak­ing sure they put peo­ple before prof­its.
  • It’s a reminder that even dur­ing a cri­sis, pro­tect­ing work­ers’ lives should be the top priority.

Stay tuned!

This legal bat­tle is far from over. We’ll keep you updat­ed on what hap­pens next and what it means for work­ers everywhere.