Poultry company responses
Oxfam reached out to the top four chicken companies—Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms—in advance of the release of our Lives on The Line report. Thus far, Tyson, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms have responded.
Tyson Foods’ response to the Oxfam report
October 26, 2015
Like Oxfam America, we believe in fair compensation, a safe and healthy work environment and in providing workers with a voice. That’s why our company already does many of the things Oxfam is recommending. For example, we:
- Frequently conduct third-party wage reviews.
- Have the highest-paying entry level jobs in many of our poultry plant communities and pay more than most companies in the poultry business.
- Provide poultry workers with pay statements that list hours worked and wages earned.
- Offer affordable health, life, dental, vision, and prescription drug benefits to our Team Members and their families.
- Require all Team Members who have been employed for 59 days to have health care coverage through either the company-sponsored health plan or through a family member’s plan.
- 100 percent of the company’s eligible Team Members have access to health care coverage.
- Have human rights practices grounded in our company’s Code of Conduct, Core Values and Team Member Bill of Rights.
- Provide a confidential, toll-free help line for workers to report concerns without the fear of retaliation.
- Have grievance systems in place as well as communications committees involving management and hourly Team Members.
WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY
- Employ almost 500 health and safety professionals in such areas as occupational safety, industrial hygiene, health care and ergonomics. In addition, there are hundreds of hourly Team Members involved in safety and ergonomic committees and on plant emergency teams.
- Provide health and safety training in multiple languages.
- Require workers to report any workplace injury or illness, so it can be immediately addressed.
For more details about the ways we support Team Members at our chicken plants, click here.
While we appreciate the Oxfam America’s efforts, we don’t agree with everything in its report, which includes comments from former workers as well as union advocates and other interest groups known for their criticism of our industry. We believe we’re doing the right thing by our Team Members, however, we always push to do better. That’s why we’re committed to continually examining ways to improve and will continue our dialogue with Oxfam.
Tyson Foods’ response to Oxfam story about the Marshallese community in Springdale, AR
November 21, 2015
We value our Marshallese Team Members and believe with have a good relationship with the Marshallese community in northwest Arkansas. We work collaboratively with Consulate General Carmen Chung-Gum and others on ways to make life better for those who have come here from the Marshall Islands. Over the years, we’ve actively supported the Marshallese community in a variety of ways. For example, Tyson Foods:
- Participates actively with the Gaps in Services to Marshallese Task Force.
- Participates actively with the Engage NWA Immigrant/Migrant committees.
- Has visited with Republic of the Marshallese Islands Embassy in Washington, D.C., to meet with officials about challenges facing Marshallese.
- Has actively advocated for an Arkansas driver’s test and study guide in the Marshallese language. The most consistent challenges communicated by the local community are related to transportation.
- Has worked with Ozark Regional Transit to find creative public transportation solutions.
- Hosted a Marshallese Clergy day that drew 33 pastors from Marshallese churches. In addition to a lunch and formal welcoming ceremony in traditional Marshallese customs, we had a town hall discussion about challenges facing this community.
- We discussed cultural awareness and answered many questions about policies, most of which were cultural misunderstandings.
- An official from the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Embassy in Washington, D.C. attended and celebrated the progress we are making as a community. To see a video of the event click here.
- Works with the Cisneros Center for New Americans to provide relevant programming to help the Marshallese community adapt to life in northwest Arkansas.
- Developed a pamphlet to help Marshallese team members control and/or regain their identity and financial documents.
- Put together a focus group at one of our local poultry plants to survey the essential needs of the Marshallese community in and outside of the plant.
- Hired a Marshallese chaplain to help serve three local plants.
Perdue Farms Statement on Oxfam Report
October 27, 2015
We find it curious that Oxfam has included Perdue in their campaign when we have been a leader in worker safety and associate health and wellness programs.
As one of the major employers in many of our communities, we recognize our responsibility to provide a safe, productive and rewarding workplace. We provide competitive wages, including hourly production pay rates significantly above minimum wage, and paid time off earned according to hours worked and seniority. We offer comprehensive benefits with options for medical, dental and vision coverage; life and disability insurance options and a competitive 401(k) savings plan with matching contributions, along with medical and dependent care pre-tax flexible spending accounts.
We comply with all applicable wage and hour laws and regulations, including those related to minimum wage, overtime compensation, piece rate, and any/all legally mandated benefits. Further, we ensure all associates work within the limits of regular and overtime hours.
Workplace safety metrics and associate safety
Our workplace safety metrics are tracked and verified. We measure workplace safety against internal goals to drive continuous improvement, and benchmark against OSHA and industry statistics. These metrics underscore the success of our safety and wellness programs.
- Perdue’s companywide lost-time rate for 2013 was 0.16 per 100 associates as compared to .80 per 100 workers nationwide for all industries combined, according the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of August 2015, Perdue’s lost-time rate was 0.17 per 100 associates.
- For 2013, Perdue’s companywide OSHA Total Recordable Incident Rate is 2.23 as compared to the current Poultry Industry rate of 4.50, and is also better than the Goods Producing rate of 3.90.
- Most recently, 21 Perdue Farms’ facilities in nine states, including 15 of the company’s food-producing plants, were recognized by the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council for outstanding safety performance for consistently implementing innovative and effective safety and health processes and systems.
- A total of 15 facilities, including 12 poultry plants, received Awards of Distinction — the Council’s highest honor. The award criteria required these facilities to maintain their key Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety metrics — Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR), Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART), and Lost Work Day Incident Rate (LWDIR) — at levels at least 50 percent better than the industry average for three consecutive years. Award consideration was also based on each facility’s written explanation of its safety programs and processes.
- Six Perdue facilities, including feed mills and hatcheries, were recognized with the Award of Honor. These facilities maintained their OSHA safety metrics at least 25 percent better than the industry average for at least three straight years.
- In the past two years, Perdue facilities in Tennessee and North Carolina have been recognized by their respective states’ Departments of Labor for outstanding safety performance.
If an associate is injured on the job, he or she is required to report the injury immediately. This is to protect the associate, and to enable us to quickly address any potential safety hazard. Associate choice of health care provider to treat an occupational injury or illness is in accordance with the laws of each state. Our goal is always for the associate to return safely to work as soon as possible. It is neither policy nor practice to punish associates who have been injured on the job. The only cases in which employment has been terminated following an injury are when the associate has committed a serious violation of safety procedures.
Paid time off
Paid time off is earned according to hours worked and seniority, and is part of the associates’ compensation. Accrual of paid time off and hours taken is clearly reported on each pay stub.
Personal protective equipment
Perdue supplies all required personal protective equipment (PPE) and food safety equipment. If an associate loses company-supplied personal protective equipment, the associate may be charged for replacement. If the job or work environment requires steel-toed footwear, those are provided. If only slip-resistant footwear is required, associates typically chose and purchase their own footwear, which can also be worn outside the plant. (In cooking plants, footwear is provided and never leaves the specific production area, as a food safety measure.)
We believe direct associate empowerment through open lines of communication and direct access to supervisors and management promotes a more effective work environment than union representation. Our associate engagement programs, peer review panels that provide associate redress and open-door policy has a proven record of empowering associates.
As part of Perdue’s people-first philosophy, associates have the right to be heard by all levels of management to resolve a conflict or misunderstanding through the Open Door Policy. Associates are encouraged to use the Open Door Policy include when they disagree with management decisions, have a question about company policy, or have issues about their work schedule. If an associate feels their concern has not been satisfactorily resolved through the Open Door Policy, associates have the right to be heard through Peer Review and Management Review processes for complaints involving disciplinary action or termination.
In addition, we offer an anonymous toll-free hotline to report illegal or unethical activity in the workplace. Calls made to this number will be kept confidential, and associates don’t have to give their name if they don’t want to.
The majority of our facilities offer Wellness Centers, fully equipped doctors offices, staffed by healthcare providers from the community. The doctors, specialists and therapists who serve our associates at the Wellness Center are part of our preferred provider network. Associates can see a doctor, specialist or therapist during work hours, without losing pay. Associates are not limited in their choices of providers, but the Wellness Center offers the lowest co-pay ($15 for associates participating in Perdue’s health coverage).
Wellness Centers are a part of Perdue's comprehensive health and wellness program, which also includes the Perdue Health Improvement Program (HIP). HIP focuses on eliminating lifestyle risk factors, managing controllable diseases and creating an environment of health in the workplace. HIP received national recognition as a C. Everett Koop Health Award winner and was honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with a Secretary's Innovation in Prevention Award.
For more information, please visit the Associates section of our Corporate Responsibility Report or our Statement on Wages, Working Conditions and Our Responsibility to Our Associates and Communities.
We agree with one point in the commentary, "Poultry processing, a thankless job" (Feb. 7): The people who bring chicken to our tables deserve to be recognized. We are proud of our associates and their commitment to the wholesomeness and quality of our products and to workplace safety. Theirs is not an easy job; the factors that are important in food safety — water from continuous cleaning and cool temperatures — make for a cold, wet environment. However, we take exception with the rest of the opinion piece and offer the following facts.
Perdue offers competitive pay and benefits. The minimum hourly production pay at Perdue's Delmarva poultry plants is $12 after a 90-day orientation period. Our full benefits package, which includes health care (medical, dental and vision options), paid time off and a 401(k) with matching contributions, adds $5.12. We have a profit-sharing plan that includes hourly associates, and last year we paid a bonus.
In addition to health coverage, our Onsite Wellness Centers at our Georgetown, Milford and Accomac plants, staffed by health care providers from the community, offer associates and dependents convenient access to primary care, women's health, prenatal care, pediatric care, occupational health and specialists. Associates can visit these fully equipped medical offices during work hours and without clocking out.
All associates can choose to participate in our free Perdue Health Improvement Plan (HIP) which focuses on eliminating lifestyle risk factors, managing controllable diseases and creating an environment of health in the workplace. HIP received national recognition as C. Everett Koop Health Award winner and was honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with a Secretary's Innovation in Prevention Award.
Our commitment to health and wellness goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to workplace safety. We've invested tens of millions of dollars in automation in our poultry plants, including whole bird cut-up, breast deboning, thigh deboning and wing cutting, to reduce repetitive motion tasks. Our plants are among the safest manufacturing workplaces, as demonstrated by our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) statistics. As of August 2015, Perdue's lost-time rate is about one-fourth the rate for all industries combined. Perdue's OSHA total recordable incident rate is less than half that of the Poultry Industry rate and just over half of the Goods Producing Industry rate.
We promote from within. In 2015, we promoted 269 production associates in our Delmarva plants, of which 69 percent were people of color and 34 percent were women. More than half of our manager-level jobs are filled from within our plants.
In an associate survey conducted November of 2015, 90 percent of our associates were positive about their jobs, 88 percent positive about safety and working conditions and 86 percent positive about career opportunities and development. More than 16,000 associates participated in this survey.
The allegation that associates are denied bathroom breaks is simply not believable. It stretches all credibility that USDA inspectors in a food plant would tolerate employees being forced to urinate at their workstations!
Our poultry plants are not secretive operations; we regularly welcome state and community leaders, local media, customers and prospective associates to tour our operations. We invite The Baltimore Sun's opinion page editors, along with a reporter and photographer, to visit our Delmarva processing plants. The Sun's journalists will be welcome to talk randomly with associates and see first-hand how chicken gets to our tables. We look forward to the opportunity.
Kerry Garman, Salisbury
The writer is senior vice president for human resources with Perdue Farms, Inc.
Sanderson Farms Statement on Oxfam Shareholder Resolution
December 15, 2015
Sanderson Farms submitted a statement in opposition to Oxfam’s shareholder resolution. The full text can be found here (Sanderson Farms statement) and excerpts of their statement can be found below:
Sanderson Farms’ Safety and Health Programs
With respect to overall employee health, we believe our health benefit plans are among the most comprehensive offered not only in our industry, but by any employer. Our health benefit plans include competitive deductibles and co-pay accounts, flat rate co-pay drug benefits, free basic wellness benefits and special programs for weight loss, smoking cessation and exercise plans. We conduct annual health fairs at each of our locations that include, among other things, free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index. These screenings have aided Sanderson Farms employees in the detection and treatment of serious health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. We pay 75% of the cost of health insurance for all of our employees and their families, the rates for which have held steady for the past three years while the cost of similar plans maintained by other employers has significantly increased. The success of these plans is evidenced by the fact we were able to reward plan participants with two months of “premium holidays” during calendar year 2015. We also pay a portion of the cost for all employees who choose to join fitness clubs. On-site diet and nutrition classes are offered free of charge to all employees who seek additional tools for maintaining their health.
Sanderson Farms maintains robust safety and health policies and programs. We have developed and maintain policies, programs, and training on safety and health related topics including, but not limited to, Process Safety Management (PSM), Lockout/Tagout, Hazard Communication, Confined Space Entry, Fire Extinguishers, and Ergonomics to reduce worker injuries and ensure compliance with applicable regulations. Sanderson Farms employs a Certified Safety Professional and an Associate Safety Professional within its Corporate Safety and Health Department to help ensure that these policies and programs are maintained at the highest level. All other members of the Corporate Safety Department are in the process of earning these certifications. Where appropriate, certified, qualified, and competent outside consultants are utilized to help us design and develop comprehensive safety and health policies and programs. Most importantly, senior management within Sanderson Farms has the ultimate responsibility to ensure safety and health policies are followed and carried out on a daily basis.
We also maintain on-site health care providers, ranging from registered nurses to emergency medical technicians, as an effective way to provide first aid and basic treatment for work related incidents. Providing immediate and appropriate treatment for employees who suffer injury and illness while on the job is not only the right thing to do, but makes business sense as well.
Safety and Health Program Oversight
Sanderson Farms maintains the robust safety and health programs described above that are designed to reduce worker injuries. Such policies and programs are reviewed and monitored by the President’s Safety Committee, which is comprised of the Company president and COO, along with employees and management team members. This committee meets quarterly to review our safety and health record and to identify additional steps that can be taken to improve employee safety. Compliance with Company safety policies and programs is required as a condition of employment, and our safety managers routinely audit such compliance. Employees are routinely trained on how to report illnesses and injuries, and no employee has ever been disciplined for reporting an injury or illness. Disciplining an employee for reporting an injury or illness would violate Company policy and any employee who does so would be subject to discipline up to and including discharge.
Company responses to No Relief report
Oxfam reached out to all companies named in our new report, No Relief, to share the findings of our research and engage them in dialogue. Tyson Foods and Perdue were the only companies that replied; their responses are verbatim.
We care about our Team Members, so we find these claims troubling. However, since Oxfam America has declined to share the real names and locations of those making the allegations, it’s difficult for us to address them or gauge their validity. We can tell you we’re committed to treating each other with respect and this includes giving workers time off the production line when they need it. Restroom breaks are not restricted to scheduled work breaks and can be taken at any time. Our production supervisors are instructed to allow Team Members to leave the production line if they need to use the restroom. Not permitting them to do so is simply not tolerated.
We offer numerous ways for our Team Members to be heard if they don’t believe they’re being treated fairly. In addition to their supervisor, they can talk to someone in human resources, plant management or one of our chaplains. They can also anonymously contact the Tyson Help Line or Tyson Web Line, which are managed by the company’s Ethics and Compliance office and are available 24 hours a day in multiple languages.
As reported in our new sustainability report, a third-party company is already involved in assessing working conditions in our plants. In 2015, we hired an outside auditing firm that evaluates plant performance in such areas as worker treatment, worker voice, compensation and safety. The auditor typically spends several days at a plant reviewing employment records and interviewing dozens of randomly selected workers. The audit results, which reflect how a plant is performing and where it needs improvement, are shared with plant and corporate management and may also be provided to customers.
The health and welfare of our associates is paramount and we take these types of allegations very seriously. The anecdotes reported are not consistent with Perdue’s policies and practices. Unfortunately, we do not have enough information to investigate the validity of these complaints.
After an internal review, it does not appear that these associates have taken advantage of Perdue’s Open Door Policy or other available options to voice their concerns. As part of our people-first philosophy, associates have the right to be heard by all levels of management to resolve a conflict or misunderstanding through the Open Door Policy. This allows them to speak to any level of management, not just their immediate supervisor. In addition to Peer Review and Management review processes, we offer an anonymous toll-free hotline to report illegal or unethical activity in the workplace. Calls made to this number will be kept confidential, and associates don’t have to give their name if they don’t want to.
“Any allegations of the nature claimed by Oxfam, if proven, would be clear violations of company policy and would result in disciplinary action.”
“Bathroom breaks have not been raised as an issue in any of our internal team member satisfaction surveys, nor in the results of our third-party-conducted sustainable safety culture surveys,” Pilgrim’s Pride said. “Team member health and safety is an integral part of our sustainability commitment, fundamental to who we are as proud members of American agriculture, and a priority for our more than 37,000 team members.”
“We have not surveyed our team members regarding bathroom breaks specifically, but have had numerous team member satisfaction surveys over the last several years, including most recently, a Safety Culture survey in 2015,” Pilgrim’s Pride spokesman Cameron Bruett says. “However, the survey did provide an opportunity to raise additional concerns and bathroom breaks were never mentioned."
LAUREL, Miss. (May 16, 2016) – Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) today issued the following statement in response to recent allegations against the poultry industry regarding the treatment of processing line employees by OxFam America in its report entitled “No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in Poultry Industry”:
Sanderson Farms’ most valuable assets are our employees, and we treat them with dignity, respect and the utmost appreciation for their dedicated work.
Sanderson Farms demonstrates concern for the well-being of our employees by providing a comprehensive benefits package, including both individual and family healthcare coverage plans for all employees, with 75 percent of the cost paid by the Company, along with free healthcare programs ranging from diet and nutrition classes, weight loss programs and exercise plans to smoking cessation programs and free annual health screenings. The Company also provides for employees’ current and future financial well-being by contributing to its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) at no cost to the employee and matching 401(k) contributions dollar-for-dollar on the first three percent of employee contribution.
Our good relationships with all of our employees is strategic for our company, and our growth over the past 25 years, as well as our future growth, would not be possible without the ability to recruit and retain employees. It is difficult to imagine a successful employee recruitment effort if Sanderson Farms’ working conditions remotely resembled those described by OxFam in its recent report. OxFam’s allegations continue to paint our industry with a broad brush by describing conditions that would, if they existed, be repugnant and contrary to our core principles. These allegations, based on weak methodology and only a handful of mostly anonymous claims, are less than convincing.
Sanderson Farms met with representatives of OxFam in our offices in February regarding alleged concerns similar to those described in its recent report and to discuss a proposal made by OxFam to our shareholders. That proposal was rejected by our shareholders, and we assured OxFam’s representatives that conditions such as those described in its recent report do not exist in our company.
Our policies require all processing plant employees to take regularly scheduled paid breaks, as well as a meal break. In addition to those mandatory breaks, employees take restroom breaks during work time whenever necessary, and the Company does not deny any person the use of restroom breaks. Indeed, companies are required by law to grant their employees access to restrooms. Sanderson Farms strictly follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards stating that restroom facilities must be available to employees upon need.
It is true that our employees work on a processing line that does not stop when an employee must leave the line for any reason, including restroom breaks. For this reason, every department in our processing plants is staffed with “floating” employees who are responsible for replacing an employee who needs to leave his or her station for any reason.
Processing plant supervisors, more than half of whom are promoted from line positions themselves, superintendents and managers, are trained in their responsibility to allow restroom breaks during work time. They are given clear, unambiguous instructions to provide restroom breaks whenever such a need occurs. Deviation from these policies is not tolerated, and any supervisor or other management employee found to have violated our policies in this regard would be disciplined, up to and including termination. The number of supervisors in our processing plants who have been promoted from line operators is as high as 77 percent. The idea that those supervisors would tolerate conditions consistent with those described by OxFam in its report is simply not believable. However, if a supervisor or manager violates Company policy in this or any other regard, Sanderson Farms provides workers with multiple opportunities to vocalize complaints or concerns beyond their direct supervisors. Employees have the ability to go directly to plant managers, or to employee relations managers that are available at every facility. Employees also have the option of expressing their concerns without fear of reprisal through an anonymous tip-line or by providing written comment following regularly scheduled training classes conducted at all facilities.
Through an internal investigation into OxFam’s claim conducted through employee interviews, review of tip-line calls and review of union grievances, Sanderson Farms has not verified any complaints regarding lack of access to restroom facilities. Any allegation to the contrary is simply not based in fact and is untrue.
Sanderson Farms, Inc. is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken and other prepared food items. Its shares trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol SAFM.
On April 26, 2017 Tyson Foods announced a series of new and expanded commitments to improving working conditions in their poultry plants. You can find further information about those commitments here.
Sustainability is about continuous improvement and solutions that last. At Tyson Foods, this means using sustainable solutions to drive improvement across all aspects of our business.
As part of our commitment to delivering sustainable food at scale, Tyson Foods has initiated new and expanded efforts to create a better, healthier workplace.
While we’ve always been committed to the success and welfare of our Team Members, we want to continue to do better. The company is taking steps that include expanding training, improving workplace safety and compensation, increasing transparency, helping workers with life skills and receiving feedback from external advisors.
Key Workplace Commitments
Safety: We commit to a goal of zero worker injuries and illnesses and will strive for a 15% year-over-year reduction company-wide beginning this year. We will also remain focused on appropriate staffing/line speeds and our Team Members’ ability to take breaks.
Retention: We commit to a goal of zero turnover in our plants and strive for a 10% year-over-year improvement company-wide in Team Member retention beginning this year. In addition, we continue to focus on ensuring our employment policies are followed and that Team Members can voice concerns.
Transparency: We’re committed to third party auditing and regular reporting. For example, we will publicly report our annual progress on injury and illness and retention rates by key business unit.
Tyson Foods reaffirms its commitment to the following:
1. Breaks: Provision of regularly scheduled breaks, including allowing plant Team Members to take restroom breaks as needed.
2. Line Speed: A policy and practice that allows plant Team Members to stop the line at any time for worker or food safety issues. Tyson commits to running its processes at a speed according the number of people available to work. In addition, Tyson is committed to ensuring availability of lead Team Members, supervisors and others who can step in when someone needs to leave the line. Through regular evaluation of engineering processes, Tyson determines proper volume and staffing. Whether a facility is meeting engineering standards is reported on a daily basis to Tyson plant management. Operational Vice Presidents are accountable for reviewing this data, identifying issues and resolving them quickly.
3. Rights: Tyson’s commits to ensuring its training program includes worker rights elements including the Team Member Bill of Rights, Code of Conduct and multiple venues for raising concerns and voicing issues. Tyson will continue to strive to ensure availability of translators/translations to enable non-native English speakers to participate and fully understand.
4. Safety Councils: Tyson remains committed to Team Member safety councils are in place at all plants and include hourly Team Members who are free to participate under the company’s non-retaliation policy.
a. All hourly Team Members who participate in the safety council will either attend during their normal work shift, or if outside their shift, will receive compensation.
b. The safety councils include hourly Team Members who are free to participate under the company’s non-retaliation policy.
c. The ideal safety council will include more hourly Team Members than managers, and Tyson will encourage the participation of hourly Team Members to be representative of the plant workforce at each facility including job categories, gender and demographics.
d. Language accommodations will be provided for non-English speaking Team Members to participate in safety councils.
e. Reports from the plant safety council will be made available to all hourly Team Members and the social audit committee.
f. Plant safety councils play an important role. They are a leading advocate for safety roles in Tyson plants. They plan and support safety leadership development, become a sustaining factor through coaching and mentoring supervisors and safety leaders and they implement Tyson safety initiatives. Their primary role is to provide input and raise issues—including the implementation of existing Tyson policies regarding sufficient staffing levels, the ability of Team Members to use the bathroom or take rest breaks as needed, that Team Members are allowed to stop the line when necessary, and that Team Members are reporting injuries without retaliatory actions being taken. They routinely report to plant management and assist in creating action plans to address issues raised and promote safety leadership. Any gaps identified will result in remediation steps identified by the safety council and a plan for implementation detailed.
Tyson Foods has committed to the following new initiatives:
1. Transparency: The company will be begin publicly sharing the results of its third party social compliance audits through its corporate website before the end of fiscal 2017.
a. In 2015 Tyson launched a social compliance program designed to assess working conditions and social responsibility in the company’s plants. It involves an internal oversight committee and an outside auditing firm that evaluate plant performance in such areas as worker treatment, worker voice, compensation, safety and environmental management. Moving forward, the oversight committee will include Tyson management and staff and hourly Team Members. Hourly Team Members are involved in prepping for visits from the auditor and the review and close-out of the audit afterward.
b. The auditor typically spends several days at a plant reviewing employment records and interviewing dozens of randomly selected Team Members. Tyson commits to sharing the audit results, which reflect how a plant is performing and where it needs improvement, with plant/corporate management, customers, and hourly Team Members, and Tyson will make the results publicly available on its website.
c. Audits will measure, and published audit results will include, the number of plants in compliance, progress made and challenges faced in the areas of health and safety, worker voice, and compensation, the performance of the company grievance mechanism and company helpline, and the annual progress on injury and illness rates and retention rates by key business unit, as described above.
2. Compensation: Tyson Foods will continue to make sure it’s providing competitive wages and benefits.
a. Effective January 2017, Tyson implemented millions of dollars in benefits improvements that included more vacation and holidays (e.g. new floating holiday), as well as improvements in short and long- term disability coverage, education assistance, adoption assistance, etc. With these changes, benefits increased 3-8% for Team Members.
b. Tyson also implemented a pay increase (varying levels) at all of its poultry plants in November 2016. At many locations, it also reduced the amount of time it takes new, probationary Team Members to reach base pay. This takes the average pay for Tyson’s poultry Team Members to $12.88-$20.50 (depends on role).
c. Tyson is piloting wage increases at two plants, moving base wages to $14-15/hour and shortening the time it takes to reach the base rate. Tyson will evaluate expanding these wage increases to all poultry plants.
Expansion of Existing Programs
Tyson Foods commits to the expansion of existing programs:
1. Safety: Tyson will expand the We Care safety communications program it started in 2015 to the rest of our poultry locations by the end of fiscal 2018.
a. This is a new worker safety initiative in 2015 that includes the creation of an executive safety council and a pilot project designed to improve plant safety communications, awareness and practices. The program includes a reminder to all Team Members of the importance of promptly reporting all workplace injuries and illnesses.
2. Collaboration: Tyson Foods will continue collaborating with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International on a workplace safety and illness and injury prevention initiative. When completed, the new workplace safety and illness and injury prevention initiative will be rolled out to all plants (including those not covered by collective bargaining agreements) and will be released publicly.
3. Training: Tyson Foods’ poultry business is expanding its training programs. It has added more than 260 trainers and 30 training coordinators since late 2015 and commits to hire an additional 25 or more trainers for its poultry plants by end fiscal 2017.
a. Fostering a culture of stronger two-way communication between hourly Team Members and managers is part of the training initiative. Tyson has also initiated a pilot project on ‘span of control’ that has involved hiring additional production supervisors to help improve safety, retention and performance.
b. The topics covered in employee trainings include:
1. Core Safety Mandates
2. Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) Health Management Plan (HMP)
3. OSHA Record-Keeping
4. Illness and injury prevention
5. Reporting Work Injuries and Illnesses, including rights under OSHA law
6. Tyson Core Values and Code of Conduct
7. Team Member Bill of Rights, including Right to a Safe Workplace, Right to be Free from Discrimination and Retaliation, Right to be Compensated for Work Performed, the Right of Choice, and Right to Continuing Training.
c. Tyson will ensure that trainings are conducted upon hiring and then regularly thereafter with refresher trainings on all topics on a yearly basis.
d. Further, plant safety councils will be charged with regularly reviewing if trainings are given in a number of languages to ensure that all Team Members employed at each facility can sufficiently understand training regardless of native language as well as periodically assessing that the topics and frequency of training are sufficient to meet the needs of processing Team Members.
Piloting New Programs
Tyson Foods operates with a continuous improvement mindset and is piloting new programs that include:
1. Life Skills: Tyson Foods Upward Academy, which is a life skills program (e.g. ESL, General Educational Development (GED) classes).
2. Pay: A pilot project that examines the impact of higher wage rates for poultry plant Team Members.
3. Prevention: As part of the We Care program Tyson Foods plans to pilot healthcare programs for occupational illness prevention. These healthcare services will be in addition to the company’s existing in-house occupational health services provided for through Tyson’s nursing department.
Programs Under Evaluation
Tyson Foods commits to evaluating additional pilot programs:
1. Schedules: Alternative work schedules (evaluating more frequent breaks/different scheduling, different durations).
2. Time Off: Paid Time Off or PTO system (combination of holiday, vacation, personal time off including for sickness) for hourly poultry Team Members.
3. Communication: Programming to help management build basic bi-lingual language skills in order to enhance communication with English-as-a-second language Team Members.