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91% of Tyson Foods employees fully vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline

91% of Tyson Foods employees fully vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline
Exterior view of the Tyson Temperanceville Complex, which processes some 200,000-205,000 birds per day on April 28, 2020. File Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Tyson Foods announced a 91% COVID-19 vaccination rate for its 120,000 U.S. employees on Thursday.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union agreed to the mandate in August in exchange for increased benefits including sick leave and a $200 bonus.

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The company's frontline workers have until Nov. 1 to get vaccinated while nearly 6,000 office workers must get vaccinated by Friday.

Tyson hasn't been sued, but it has lost some employees over its mandate.

"The vaccination rate amongst our frontline workers was lower than our office-based workers at the beginning of this," Tyson's chief medical officer Dr. Claudia Coplein told The New York Times.

One of Tyson's plants reached a 100% vaccination rate after a young man who lived near the plant died of COVID-19. His uncle worked at the plant, and the personal connection spurred people to get vaccinated, Dr. Coplein said.

Large companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald's have imposed vaccine mandates on their corporate staff but not their frontline workers. United Airlines reported Tuesday that 593 employees face termination for failing to comply with its mandate.

At least 132 workers in the meatpacking industry have died from the virus. Conditions in packing plants led to the spread of the virus when the pandemic first began, causing meat shortages across the country.

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