Tyson continues its work while supporting area communities during pandemic
People are the heart and soul of our community — whether neighbors, school classmates and teachers, church and local business leaders or work colleagues. It’s seeing one another at Toney’s Grill and Seafood or the new Love’s Travel Center. It’s all of us together that make this great community strong. During this historic time, we realize there are many needs in our community.
Tyson Foods is helping where we can. We have recently donated food to the town of Edwards for senior citizens, partnered with the city of Port Gibson to provide a source of food relief, donated to the city of Byram, given food weekly to our team members, donated food weekly to New Beginning Church in Christ in Vicksburg, donated food to the police and fire departments in Vicksburg, have donated food to the Storehouse Community Food Pantry in Warren County, donated food to Warren Central Athletic Department, assisted in community events for Warren County and Mississippi Food Network Mobile Pantry of Vicksburg, as well as many more.
COVID-19 has disrupted our community and forced changes on us all, but these changes are to help keep us safe. As the complex manager of the Vicksburg Further Processing Plant, safety is a top priority. It’s a question I ask myself every day: how do I help keep the nearly 460 members of our Tyson community safe? How do we — a major employer and an essential business — operate in the best interest of our workers and consumers?
I assure you we’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country and keeping thousands employed. We check all our team member’s temperatures and require they wear protective face coverings. We’ve implemented social distancing measures, such as installing workstation dividers and barriers in our breakrooms, and we are deep cleaning our facilities daily. In March, we relaxed our attendance policy to encourage people to stay home when they’re sick and we continue to remind them to follow CDC guidelines at home as well as at work.
Our team members have mandatory health care coverage and we’ve made changes by waiving a five consecutive day waiting period for Short Term Disability and increased coverage to 90 percent of normal pay until June 30 so employees can receive pay while they’re sick with the flu or COVID-19. In addition, we’re waiving the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps. We’ve waived co-pays for the use of telemedicine and are relaxing refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication.
Also, the company is now offering $120 million in “thank you bonuses” for 116,000 U.S. frontline workers and truckers, up from the $60 million announced in early April. The company is moving up the first $500 bonus payment to early May. The second $500 bonus will be paid in July.
No one should be fearful to go to work. Because our plant is already laser-focused on food safety efforts, I believe it’s one of the safest places for a person to be. I want everyone in this community to know we are committed to maintaining a safe working environment at Tyson Foods.
It’s during these times of uncertainty when communities come together to support and help one another and we’re proud to be part of a community that does just that.
If you are a Vicksburg Tyson team member, I cannot be prouder of you during these times of uncertainty. Thank you to all of them and thank you to this community for the continued support.
Tyson Foods Complex Manager, Vicksburg
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