7 Tyson pork plant managers accused of betting on how many workers would contract COVID-19 have been fired

7 Tyson pork plant managers accused of betting on how many workers would contract COVID-19 have been fired
Workers leave the Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Logansport, Ind., Thursday, May 7, 2020. The plant was expected to reopen Thursday after closing on April 25 after nearly 900 employees tested positive for the coronavirus.AP Photo/Michael Conroy
  • Tyson Foods fired seven managers at a Waterloo, Iowa pork plant for creating a betting pool on how many workers would catch COVID-19, at the start of the pandemic.
  • Last month, an independent investigation was launched into the allegations which were made as a part of an amended wrongful death lawsuit.

Tyson Foods fired seven management employees at a Waterloo, Iowa, pork plant following an independent investigation into allegations that managers bet money on how many workers would catch the virus during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The behaviors exhibited by these individuals do not represent the Tyson core values, which is why we took immediate and appropriate action to get to the truth. Now that the investigation has concluded, we are taking action based on the findings," Tyson Foods President & CEO Dean Banks said in a statement.

The accusations came about after the discovery of an amended court document in the wrongful death lawsuit of Isidro Fernandez, a Tyson meatpacking worker who died of COVID-19 in April. The lawsuit had initially claimed that the facility had downplayed concerns and covered up an outbreak at the meat processing facility to keep workers coming in, the Associated Press reported.

But in November, the suit was amended to reflect accusations that management was placing bets on coronavirus cases.

"Defendant Tom Hart, the Plant Manager of the Waterloo Facility, organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many employees would test positive for COVID-19."


According to the lawsuit, some managers were demanding that sick employees come into work, and one employee, who vomited on the production line, was made to return to work the following day.

The lawsuit also alleged that managers gave out $500 "thank you bonuses" to employees who worked all of their scheduled shifts for three months, and warned workers not to discuss COVID-19 while at work.

The managers named in the lawsuit were initially suspended when the investigation began.

Black Hawk County Health Department announced about a third of all workers at the plant or more than 1,000 people or had either tested positive for COVID-19 or had antibodies, in May.