Third Camilla Tyson processing facility worker dies from COVID-19

A third worker at the Tyson poultry processing facility in Camilla, Georgia, has died from COVID-19, according to a press release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. (Photo: WALB)

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
April 17, 2020

CAMILLA, Ga. (WCTV) — A third worker at the Tyson poultry processing facility in Camilla, Georgia, has died from COVID-19, according to a press release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Edgar Fields, the president of the union's Southeast Council, said RWDSU members are critical to putting food on America's dinner tables.

“We are heartbroken," Fields said. "Generation after generation of our members are hidden from public view in small town America's poultry plants. They often work for corporations who feel they have the right to continue to treat them without the dignity, respect and wages that they more than deserve."

Fields also said the union's workers have been terrified to go to work for weeks.

The first worker from the Camilla plant died from the virus on April 1, according to the union.

“When we lost Elose Wills, we widely reported what conditions have been like at the Tyson facility, in the hopes management would make real changes," Fields said. "Over the past two weeks they have made some, but I am deeply saddened to report that it was precisely what we feared, too little too late."

The second worker, Mary Holt, died on April 6. Holt worked at the plant for 27 years, and was a member of the RWDSU Southeast Council. Willis was also a member of the union and worked at the facility for 35 years.

Annie Grant, the third Tyson employee to die from the virus, died on April 7, the union says. Grant was a member of the union for 13 years.

Fields said action needs to be taken at the facility.

“I want to reiterate, what’s happening in Camilla, Georgia is a clear example of how not to do things. It’s too little too late here, and I hope sharing our story will help stop other communities from being exploited by corporate America," he said. "When I speak to our members I hear real fear in their voices, and their voices must continue to be heard."

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