Reuters reports that Tyson Foods joined a growing list of US companies that are changing their vaccination and masking policies as the Delta variant triggers renewed pandemic restrictions.
Microsoft said on Tuesday all employees, vendors and guests will be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter its US buildings, while meatpacker Tyson Foods said it was mandating vaccinations for its workforce.
“We did not take this decision lightly,” Tyson Chief Executive Donnie King said. “We have spent months encouraging our team members to get vaccinated – today, under half of our team members are.”
Tyson said it is negotiating with unions about mandating vaccines for unionised workers, who make up about one-third of its hourly workforce.
Rival JBS USA also said it is in talks with unions about vaccine mandates and already requires vaccines for new corporate employees.
America’s largest meatpacking union, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, said it is concerning that Tyson is implementing its mandate before the US Food and Drug Administration has fully approved vaccines
Labour unions and meat companies pushed states to speed up the vaccine rollout in the food sector to protect workers and avoid supply-chain disruptions from Covid-19 outbreaks, such as closures of slaughterhouses last year.