Tyson fires seven managers after investigation into COVID-19 betting ring

More than 1,000 employees at the plant contracted coronavirus

Tyson Foods fired seven managers Wednesday after an independent investigation into allegations that employees created a betting pool on how many plant workers would contract COVID-19.

More than 1,000 employees eventually were infected and at least six died due to an outbreak at the Waterloo, Iowa, pork processing plant.

The investigation was conducted by the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, and led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. He is a partner at the firm.

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Tyson Foods President and CEO Dean Banks traveled to the Waterloo plant last month when allegations of the betting ring surfaced. He returned to the Wednesday to discuss the findings with workers.

“We value our people and expect everyone on the team, especially our leaders, to operate with integrity and care in everything we do,” Banks said in a statement Wednesday.

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“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.”

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Aside from the betting pool, lawyers for four deceased employees alleged that workers were pressured to continue coming to the plant during the pandemic despite concerns about safety.

Tyson said it has transformed its plants to make them safer, adding walk-through temperature scanners, workstation dividers, social distance monitors and testing.

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At least 76,899 meatpacking and food processing workers contracted coronavirus at 1,250 U.S. plants, according to the Food and Environment Reporting Network, which has been tracking cases since the pandemic began.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.