Tyson beefs up PR in wake of accusations by union

SPRINGDALE, AR: Tyson Foods has launched a PR offensive in response to a union call for a federal investigation of working conditions at its poultry plants.

SPRINGDALE, AR: Tyson Foods has launched a PR offensive in response to a union call for a federal investigation of working conditions at its poultry plants.

SPRINGDALE, AR: Tyson Foods has launched a PR offensive in response

to a union call for a federal investigation of working conditions at its

poultry plants.



The food-processing giant has opened the poultry facilities to local

media - an unprecedented move in what has traditionally been a quiet

industry, according to corporate PR manager Ed Nicholson.



In addition to granting reporters this access and responding to

inquiries about safety, the company has also been stepping up internal

communications efforts. For instance, employees can view senior manager

statements on safety policy in streaming video on the company’s Intranet

site.



The labor controversy began when two Tyson employees died at a facility

in Robards, KY earlier this year. This prompted a union request for an

investigation by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA),

which long ago designated the poultry industry as a ’high hazard’

business.



’We have had a long-standing battle with Tyson Foods,’ admitted Jill

Cashen, a spokesperson for the United Food & Commercial Workers

International Union, which represents about 10,000 of Tyson’s 50,000

employees.



While Nicholson said it was too early to judge the effectiveness of

Tyson’s response to the accusations, he noted that the company’s

cooperation with the media seems to be working. ’Coverage is more

balanced when (reporters) get a look at our workplace,’ he said.



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