Commitments for Continuous Improvement in the Workplace

Sustainability is about continuous improvement and solutions that last. At Tyson Foods, this means using sustainable solutions to drive improvement across all aspects of our business.

As part of our commitment to delivering sustainable food at scale, Tyson Foods has initiated new and expanded efforts to create a better, healthier workplace.

While we’ve always been committed to the success and welfare of our Team Members, we want to continue to do better. The company is taking steps that include expanding training, improving workplace safety and compensation, increasing transparency, helping workers with life skills and receiving feedback from external advisors.

Key Workplace Commitments

Safety: We commit to a goal of zero worker injuries and illnesses and will strive for a 15% year-over-year reduction company-wide beginning this year. We will also remain focused on appropriate staffing/line speeds and our Team Members’ ability to take breaks.

Retention: We commit to a goal of zero turnover in our plants and strive for a 10% year-over-year improvement company-wide in Team Member retention beginning this year. In addition, we continue to focus on ensuring our employment policies are followed and that Team Members can voice concerns.

Transparency: We’re committed to third party auditing and regular reporting. For example, we will publicly report our annual progress on injury and illness and retention rates by key business unit.

Existing Programs/Practices

Tyson Foods reaffirms its commitment to the following:

  • 1. Breaks: Provision of regularly scheduled breaks, including allowing plant Team Members to take restroom breaks as needed.
  • 2. Line Speed: A policy and practice that allows plant Team Members to stop the line at any time for worker or food safety issues. Tyson commits to running its processes at a speed according the number of people available to work. In addition, Tyson is committed to ensuring availability of lead Team Members, supervisors and others who can step in when someone needs to leave the line. Through regular evaluation of engineering processes, Tyson determines proper volume and staffing. Whether a facility is meeting engineering standards is reported on a daily basis to Tyson plant management. Operational Vice Presidents are accountable for reviewing this data, identifying issues and resolving them quickly.
  • 3. Rights: Tyson’s commits to ensuring its training program includes worker rights elements including the Team Member Bill of Rights, Code of Conduct and multiple venues for raising concerns and voicing issues. Tyson will continue to strive to ensure availability of translators/translations to enable non-native English speakers to participate and fully understand.
  • 4. Safety Councils: Tyson remains committed to Team Member safety councils are in place at all plants and include hourly Team Members who are free to participate under the company’s non-retaliation policy.
    1. a. All hourly Team Members who participate in the safety council will either attend during their normal work shift, or if outside their shift, will receive compensation.
    2. b. The safety councils include hourly Team Members who are free to participate under the company’s non-retaliation policy.
    3. c. The ideal safety council will include more hourly Team Members than managers, and Tyson will encourage the participation of hourly Team Members to be representative of the plant workforce at each facility including job categories, gender and demographics.
    4. d. Language accommodations will be provided for non-English speaking Team Members to participate in safety councils.
    5. e. Reports from the plant safety council will be made available to all hourly Team Members and the social audit committee.
    6. f. Plant safety councils play an important role. They are a leading advocate for safety roles in Tyson plants. They plan and support safety leadership development, become a sustaining factor through coaching and mentoring supervisors and safety leaders and they implement Tyson safety initiatives. Their primary role is to provide input and raise issues—including the implementation of existing Tyson policies regarding sufficient staffing levels, the ability of Team Members to use the bathroom or take rest breaks as needed, that Team Members are allowed to stop the line when necessary, and that Team Members are reporting injuries without retaliatory actions being taken. They routinely report to plant management and assist in creating action plans to address issues raised and promote safety leadership. Any gaps identified will result in remediation steps identified by the safety council and a plan for implementation detailed.

New Programs

Tyson Foods has committed to the following new initiatives:

  1. 1. Transparency: The company will be begin publicly sharing the results of its third party social compliance audits through its corporate website before the end of fiscal 2017.
    1. a. In 2015 Tyson launched a social compliance program designed to assess working conditions and social responsibility in the company’s plants. It involves an internal oversight committee and an outside auditing firm that evaluate plant performance in such areas as worker treatment, worker voice, compensation, safety and environmental management. Moving forward, the oversight committee will include Tyson management and staff and hourly Team Members. Hourly Team Members are involved in prepping for visits from the auditor and the review and close-out of the audit afterward.
    2. b. The auditor typically spends several days at a plant reviewing employment records and interviewing dozens of randomly selected Team Members. Tyson commits to sharing the audit results, which reflect how a plant is performing and where it needs improvement, with plant/corporate management, customers, and hourly Team Members, and Tyson will make the results publicly available on its website.
    3. c. Audits will measure, and published audit results will include, the number of plants in compliance, progress made and challenges faced in the areas of health and safety, worker voice, and compensation, the performance of the company grievance mechanism and company helpline, and the annual progress on injury and illness rates and retention rates by key business unit, as described above.
  2. 2. Compensation: Tyson Foods will continue to make sure it’s providing competitive wages and benefits.
    1. a. Effective January 2017, Tyson implemented millions of dollars in benefits improvements that included more vacation and holidays (e.g. new floating holiday), as well as improvements in short and long- term disability coverage, education assistance, adoption assistance, etc. With these changes, benefits increased 3-8% for Team Members.
    2. b. Tyson also implemented a pay increase (varying levels) at all of its poultry plants in November 2016. At many locations, it also reduced the amount of time it takes new, probationary Team Members to reach base pay. This takes the average pay for Tyson’s poultry Team Members to $12.88-$20.50 (depends on role).
    3. c. Tyson is piloting wage increases at two plants, moving base wages to $14-15/hour and shortening the time it takes to reach the base rate. Tyson will evaluate expanding these wage increases to all poultry plants.

Expansion of Existing Programs

Tyson Foods commits to the expansion of existing programs:

  1. 1. Safety: Tyson will expand the We Care safety communications program it started in 2015 to the rest of our poultry locations by the end of fiscal 2018.
    1. a. This is a new worker safety initiative in 2015 that includes the creation of an executive safety council and a pilot project designed to improve plant safety communications, awareness and practices. The program includes a reminder to all Team Members of the importance of promptly reporting all workplace injuries and illnesses.
  2. 2. Collaboration: Tyson Foods will continue collaborating with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International on a workplace safety and illness and injury prevention initiative. When completed, the new workplace safety and illness and injury prevention initiative will be rolled out to all plants (including those not covered by collective bargaining agreements) and will be released publicly.
  3. 3. Training: Tyson Foods’ poultry business is expanding its training programs. It has added more than 260 trainers and 30 training coordinators since late 2015 and commits to hire an additional 25 or more trainers for its poultry plants by end fiscal 2017.
    1. a. Fostering a culture of stronger two-way communication between hourly Team Members and managers is part of the training initiative. Tyson has also initiated a pilot project on ‘span of control’ that has involved hiring additional production supervisors to help improve safety, retention and performance.
    2. b. The topics covered in employee trainings include:
      1. Core Safety Mandates
      2. Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) Health Management Plan (HMP)
      3. OSHA Record-Keeping
      4. Illness and injury prevention
      5. Reporting Work Injuries and Illnesses, including rights under OSHA law
      6. Tyson Core Values and Code of Conduct
      7. Team Member Bill of Rights, including Right to a Safe Workplace, Right to be Free from Discrimination and Retaliation, Right to be Compensated for Work Performed, the Right of Choice, and Right to Continuing Training.
    3. c. Tyson will ensure that trainings are conducted upon hiring and then regularly thereafter with refresher trainings on all topics on a yearly basis.
    4. d. Further, plant safety councils will be charged with regularly reviewing if trainings are given in a number of languages to ensure that all Team Members employed at each facility can sufficiently understand training regardless of native language as well as periodically assessing that the topics and frequency of training are sufficient to meet the needs of processing Team Members.

Piloting New Programs

Tyson Foods operates with a continuous improvement mindset and is piloting new programs that include:

  1. 1. Life Skills: Tyson Foods Upward Academy, which is a life skills program (e.g. ESL, General Educational Development (GED) classes).
  2. 2. Pay: A pilot project that examines the impact of higher wage rates for poultry plant Team Members.
  3. 3. Prevention: As part of the We Care program Tyson Foods plans to pilot healthcare programs for occupational illness prevention. These healthcare services will be in addition to the company’s existing in-house occupational health services provided for through Tyson’s nursing department.

Programs Under Evaluation

Tyson Foods commits to evaluating additional pilot programs:

  1. 1. Schedules: Alternative work schedules (evaluating more frequent breaks/different scheduling, different durations).
  2. 2. Time Off: Paid Time Off or PTO system (combination of holiday, vacation, personal time off including for sickness) for hourly poultry Team Members.
  3. 3. Communication: Programming to help management build basic bi-lingual language skills in order to enhance communication with English-as-a-second language Team Members.