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Lawsuit: Tyson Foods plant supervisors placed bets on employee coronavirus numbers

Lawsuit: Tyson Foods plant supervisors placed bets on employee coronavirus numbers
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A lawsuit against a Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, claims that supervisors privately placed bets on how many workers would get sick as the plant remained open early on in the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit filed by Oscar Fernandez, whose father worked at the plant, claims that one of the facility’s managers created a “cash buy-in, winner-take-all” betting pool for higher-ups over how many Waterloo employees would end up becoming ill from the virus, The Washington Post reports.

Fernandez filed the wrongful death lawsuit after his father, Isidro Fernandez, died in April after contracting COVID-19 while on the job. Several other families of Waterloo facility workers have also filed lawsuits, according to The Associated Press.

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“Despite an uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreak, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions,” the Fernandez lawsuit alleges, according to the Post. “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.”

Tyson Foods did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment, but said in a statement reported Wednesday by the Iowa Capital Dispatch that it was “saddened by the loss of any Tyson team member and sympathize with their families.”

The company declined to comment on specific allegations in the lawsuit but said its “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.”