Human Rights Due Diligence

Resolution Text

Whereas: Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, companies are expected to conduct human rights due diligence to meet the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.[1]

 

Tyson’s business activities significantly impact fundamental human rights, including the rights to:

  • life,
  • freedom from discrimination,
  • safe and healthy working conditions,
  • freedom of association, organize a union, and bargain collectively free from intimidation and retaliation, and
  • water, health, and a safe environment.

Processing workers’ health and safety are vulnerable under normal conditions.[2] During the coronavirus pandemic, Tyson has maintained punitive attendance policies (with minor exceptions), inconsistent or insufficient access to testing, workstations ill-equipped for social distancing, high line speeds, and incomplete COVID-19 reporting,[3]which has already resulted in over 10,000 reported positive cases and at least 35 worker deaths.[4] If respect for workers’ rights and stronger protections are not implemented, additional deaths are inevitable.[5]

 

Further, Tyson’s international footprint presents human rights risks including forced labor.[6]  Failures in Tyson’s management of water quality risks and inadequate provision of remedy to impacted communities interfere with the right to water.[7]

 

Poor management of worker health and safety exposes Tyson to litigation, reputational, financial, and human capital management risks.[8] Recently, families of Tyson workers filed wrongful death lawsuits against the company.[9] A USDA complaint against Tyson alleges racial discrimination for failing to protect workers of color who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.[10] Tyson faces two FTC complaints for misleading representations about worker treatment, the nature of relationships with farmers, and conditions at poultry farms in its supply chain.[11]

 

Worker voice in the design, implementation, and monitoring of human rights due diligence, such as through a worker-driven social responsibility (WSR) model[12] or labor unions, is necessary to respect human rights. This would help prevent harm, reduce fines for violations, stabilize the workforce of Tyson and its suppliers, and preserve the company’s social license to operate. There is inadequate disclosure on the outcomes of Tyson’s workplace commitments or implementation of human rights due diligence to address adverse human rights impacts throughout the value chain.[13] Giving workers and other impacted groups a leading role in this process—including a legally binding and enforceable grievance mechanism, as with WSR—has been identified as essential for effectiveness of interventions to address human rights risks.[14]

 

Resolved: Shareholders request the Board of Directors prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on Tyson’s human rights due diligence process to assess, identify, prevent, mitigate, and remedy actual and potential human rights impacts. 

 

Supporting Statement: The report should:

  • Identify and assess the human rights impacts of Tyson’s business and plans to prevent and mitigate harm;
  • Explain the types and extent of stakeholder consultation; and
  • Discuss how Tyson tracks effectiveness of its human rights due diligence.

 


[1] https://www.ohchr.org/documents/publications/guidingprinciplesbusinesshr_en.pdf

[2] https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat#

[3] https://thefern.org/ag_insider/covid-19-cases-appear-to-be-slowing-at-meat-plants-but-companies-arent-releasing-test-results/; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-03/tyson-reinstates-policy-that-penalizes-absentee-workers; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/opinion/coronavirus-tyson-poultry.html; https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/30/tyson-foods-coronavirus-tests/

[4] https://thefern.org/2020/04/mapping-covid-19-in-meat-and-food-processing-plantshttps://investigatemidwest.org/2020/04/16/tracking-covid-19s-impact-on-meatpacking-workers-and-industry

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/meat-poultry-processing-workers-employers.html; https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/tyson-meatpackers-said-to-need-more-protection-from-coronavirus; https://www.propublica.org/article/emails-reveal-chaos-as-meatpacking-companies-fought-health-agencies-over-covid-19-outbreaks-in-their-plants

[6] http://hrn.or.jp/wpHN/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Labour-Rights-Violations-in-the-Thai-Poultry-Industry-within-the-Supply-Chains-of-Japanese-Companies-2019-2nd-Ed.pdf

[7] https://www.cullmantribune.com/2020/05/01/updated-lawsuit-filed-against-tyson-over-2019-spills/  

[8] https://healfoodalliance.org/120-organizations-target-tyson-foods-for-failing-to-protect-workers-from-covid-19-2/; https://violationtracker.goodjobsfirst.org/parent/tyson-foods;  http://nototyson.com

[9]https://www.vbattorneys.com/hubfs/DOC%2001%20-%2005.15.20%20FS%20Original%20Complaint%20.pdf

[10]https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/690bc23d-7fcc-463f-85e1-62e6232cf993/downloads/2020.07.08-Food-Chain-Workers-v.-Tyson-Foods-T.pdf?ver=1594514994518

[11] https://files.constantcontact.com/0fcd97ad701/adf8e243-8c80-404b-9b1b-d534e570ee50.pdf;  https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/tyson_natural_ftc_complaint_07.2.2020.pdf      

[12] https://wsr-network.org/what-is-wsr/statement-of-principles/

[13]https://www.corporatebenchmark.org/sites/default/files/chrb_2019_pdfs/Tyson%20Foods%20CHRB%202019%20Results%20on%2020190926%20at%20080325.pdf

[14] http://www.msi-integrity.org/not-fit-for-purpose/

Co-filer

Katie Carter
Portico Benefit Services (ELCA)
Josie Chrosniak
Sisters of the Humility of Mary, OH
Marcelline Koch
Dominican Sisters of Springfield Illinois
Mary Beth Gallagher
Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Mary Beth Gallagher
Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY
Tom McCaney
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Marie Cigrand
Sisters of St. Francis-Dubuque
Mary Minette
Mercy Investment Services
Mary Minette
Adrian Dominican Sisters
Mary Minette
Daughters of Charity, Province of St Louise
Mary Minette
Congregation of St. Joseph, OH
Cathy Rowan
Trinity Health
Judy Byron
Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province
Judy Byron
Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, NJ
Judy Byron
Northwest Women Religious Investment Trust
Judy Byron
PeaceHealth
Mary Beth Hamm
Sisters of Bon Secours USA
Ruth Battaglia
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes
Barbara Aires
Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, NJ
Rose Marie Stallbaumer
Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica
Jean Sliwinski
Felician Sisters of North America

Lead Filer

Mary Beth Gallagher
American Baptist Home Mission Society