Fired Tyson Managers: ‘Betting Pool’ Stories Distorted

Packing plant workers
Packing plant workers
(USDA)

Former Tyson Foods Waterloo plant manager Tom Hart said, “Nobody bet on how many Team Members would become sick (with COVID-19).”

In his first public comments since his termination from Tyson after 26 years, Hart told KWWL-TV in Waterloo that reports of a betting pool among Tyson managers is false and distorted.

Hart, and former Waterloo Tyson night manager, Don Merschbrock, also fired by Tyson, claim the pool did not exist in the way it has been portrayed in news stories. While they admit a spontaneous, $5 office pool was created, it was never about how many plant employees would contract the virus.

Merschbrock said, "We did have a pool. And, it was a pool saying our results, as far as positive cases, would be better than the community. It had nothing to do with how many people got sick or anything. We thought we did a really good job, and we thought our positive rate would be better than what was out in the community, because of all the mitigation we put forward to keep everybody safe."

The managers said the office pool was simply a conversation among managers about completion of an exhaustive mitigation effort inside the plant. Hart said they believed their COVID mitigation efforts in the plant would be more successful than what was being done in the community at the time.

The alleged "betting pool” led to an internal Tyson investigation, conducted by the company of former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder. Based on the report, Tyson fired seven Waterloo managers.

The Waterloo plant is Tyson Food’s largest pork plant, harvesting 19,000 pigs a day. More than 1,000 Tyson Waterloo workers tested positive for COVID with four deaths. The complete interview will air on KWWL’s The Steele Report, this Sunday, January 17, at 10 am and on kwwl.com.

 

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