Camilla Tyson Foods employees concerned for their safety during COVID-19

Concerns expressed over Camilla Tyson plant workers' safety

CAMILLA, Ga. (WALB) - The Albany area is a hotspot for COVID-19.

WALB has received numerous calls from employees and others at Tyson Foods in Camilla who said their safety is at risk.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) is demanding the poultry industry to take immediate action.

Such as shutting down facilities for 72 hours for sanitation and allowing employees to quarantine for 14 days if they were in contact with an employee who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Edgar Fields, the President of the Southeast Council of the RWDSU, said in a statement, “What’s happening in Camilla, Ga. is a clear example of how not to do things.”

Edgar Fields, President of the Southeast Council of the RWDSU (Source: WALB)
Edgar Fields, President of the Southeast Council of the RWDSU (Source: WALB)

RWDSU reps also said the industry’s response has been sporadic and limited to a few locations.

Tyson Foods’ External Communications, Worth Sparkman, said in a statement:

“We continue working diligently to protect our team members at Camilla and elsewhere against what many industries around the world have learned is a challenging and ever-changing situation. We were one of the first food companies to start taking worker temperatures before they enter our facilities. We also stepped up deep cleaning in our plants and implemented social distancing measures, such as installing dividers between workstations and increasing the space between workers on the production floor by slowing production lines. Workers at Camilla and other locations have access to protective face coverings, which we were actively sourcing before the CDC released its recent guidance advising that individuals wear facial coverings, and we’re aggressively securing more from sources around the world. We’ve been in frequent contact with the RWDSU and the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers Union) about the measures we’ve taken to protect our team members.”

Fields told us these employees are essential workers and deserve better treatment.

“Tyson can not fix Camilla, but if they can just take care of their facility and keep it safe, that is all they can do. We have to take care of those workers who are feeding the nation. They are essential workers. They’re the ones that fill those stores. They feed the world and we are not treating them like essential workers," said Fields.

Sparkman told WALB they’re in frequent contact with the RWDSU and the United Food and Commercial Workers union about the measures they’ve taken to protect their team members.

We’ll continue to follow this story and keep you updated as it develops.

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