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Tyson raises wages at Northwest Arkansas chicken plants

by Nathan Owens | September 8, 2021 at 9:52 a.m.
FILE -- The exterior of the Tyson Foods Inc. headquarters in Springdale. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANTHONY REYES)

Tyson Foods this week increased starting wages to $15.20 per hour for poultry processing workers in Northwest Arkansas.

The company also began offering an extra $2 per hour for night shifts, a $1,000 sign-on bonus and benefits as a way to recruit and retain workers during the pandemic.

These incentives come a month after Tyson said all workers are required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1. Since then more than 30,000 employees have received vaccinations for covid-19, according to the company. Efforts are underway to get more people on board.

In addition to increased wages, fully vaccinated factory workers get a $200 bonus and can enter a weekly drawing to earn $10,000 this month. They also can earn up to 20 hours of paid sick leave per year, starting next year.

The company has struggled with absenteeism and turnover, as workers grew sick or left for other jobs. Base pay was $12.50 per hour at chicken plants in Rogers and Springdale, before Tyson increased it to $15.20, effective Sunday. Workers can earn up to $17.20 per hour working nights.

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