More than 90% of Tyson Foods‘ 120,000-person workforce has been vaccinated after the meatpacker announced a mandate in early August.
In less than two months, the company has nearly doubled the number of its workers who have been inoculated against Covid-19. The New York Times’ Dealbook first reported the news.
Tyson’s office workers have to be fully vaccinated by Friday, while plant workers have until Nov. 1. According to the company, 91% of its workforce been vaccinated so far, with roughly the same rate for its employees who work at union plants. Employees received a $200 bonus for complying.
Tyson’s vaccine mandate came as new Covid cases were surging in the United States, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. As companies encouraged workers to get vaccinated, cases have started to drop in the majority of U.S. states.
Some companies, like McDonald’s and Walmart, opted to impose vaccine mandates only on their corporate staff. United Airlines, which has one of the strictest policies, said Tuesday that 593 of its employees are facing termination for failing to comply with its mandate. President Joe Biden recently unveiled a plan to increase vaccination rates that would require employers with more than 100 workers to mandate inoculation or weekly testing.
The pandemic has hit the meatpacking industry hard, killing at least 132 workers, according to union data. Conditions in the plants require employees to work closely together for hours at a time, making social distancing nearly impossible. Group housing and shared transportation to and from work also increase contact among workers. Outbreaks forced temporary plant closures in some instances.
Shares of Tyson were down 1% in morning trading. The stock has risen 24% this year, bringing its market value to $29 billion.