The family of a former meatpacker who died from COVID-19 alleges in a lawsuit that managers at a Tyson Foods plant in Iowa knew working conditions would result in illness, and even placed bets on how many workers would be infected. The family of Isidro Fernandez, who died in April, says the plant manager set up a winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager on coronavirus infections. Since the start of the pandemic, at least six workers have died and more than 1,000 tested positive for COVID-19 at the Iowa facility. Tyson Foods has suspended the managers involved in the alleged betting scheme, but worker rights advocates say it is further evidence of abuse and exploitation in the meat industry. “These companies are treating them like animals. They’re treating them as disposable,” says Magaly Licolli, executive director of Venceremos, an advocacy group for poultry plant workers.
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