- The coronavirus response is a story about class. White-collar workers are being told to stay safe at home. This includes executives at Tyson Foods. As chairman, John Tyson's total compensation in 2019 was $10,322,100, and CEO Noel White was paid $10,398,160.
Meanwhile, meatpacking workers are being required to show up at crowded job sites for mediocre pay, so no one has to change their eating habits. Nearly half of meatpacking workers live in low-income families — $52,000 or less for a family of four. 12.4% of meatpacking workers live below the poverty line. On average, workers are paid just $15 per hour.
The industry is also disproportionately comprised of people of color. 34.9% of meatpackers are Hispanic, and 22.5% are black. More than half are immigrants.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) said that workers that don't return to meatpacking plants will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. "If you're an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to, that's a voluntary quit," she said.