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Hawley Presses Tyson Foods CEO on Dangerous Child Labor Practices

Hawley Presses Tyson Foods CEO on Dangerous Child Labor Practices
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Hawley Presses Tyson Foods CEO on Dangerous Child Labor …  Josh Hawley

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley Demands Answers from Tyson Foods CEO on Child Labor Practices

Hawley Presses Tyson Foods CEO on Dangerous Child Labor Practices

Today, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter to Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King, demanding answers after a disturbing new report from The New York Times exposed unsafe, illegal child labor practices within the company.

“I am alarmed by new reports that Tyson Foods has actively participated in dangerous and illegal child labor practices,” wrote Senator Hawley. “Any company that employs, facilitates, encourages, or excuses child labor must be held to account. In light of the facts, you owe the American people an explanation as to Tyson’s child-labor practices.”

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Emphasized:

  1. Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  2. Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Last Friday, Senator Hawley spoke with CEO Donnie King and secured his commitment to protect Missouri jobs, following an announcement that Tyson Foods would be closing its southern Missouri locations. He also introduced the Strengthening Antitrust Enforcement for Meatpacking Act, which would empower antitrust enforcers to break up giant meatpacking and poultry monopolies and place power back in the hands of Missouri’s farmers and workers.

In May, Senator Hawley introduced the Corporate Responsibility for Child Labor Elimination Act, legislation to compel large corporations to eradicate unlawful child labor from their operations in the United States.

Read the full letter here and below.

Full Letter to Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King:

September 19, 2023

Donnie D. King

Chief Executive Officer

Tyson Foods

2200 W. Don Tyson Parkway

Springdale, AR 72762

Dear Mr. King:

I am alarmed by new reports that Tyson Foods has actively participated in dangerous and illegal child labor practices. According to a lengthy report published yesterday in the New York Times, the poultry processing industry has regularly contracted with companies that employ child workers and subjected those children to highly unsafe working conditions. I am especially concerned that Tyson is subcontracting illicit child labor to avoid legal liability.

The Times report recounts a number of horrific instances in which children—many, if not most, of whom crossed the southern border as unaccompanied minors—were severely injured or even killed while illegally employed at chicken processing plants. The report opens with the story of a teenager whose arm was ripped down to the tendons after it got caught in a factory machine. It goes on to quote a federal inspector who had tried to “track down a teenager who she heard had fallen from a ladder at Tyson and broken his leg.” Other examples include an eighth grader from Guatemala who was killed two months ago while working the cleaning shift at a Mississippi plant.

Tyson has stated that the company has “no tolerance for child labor,” but the Times report suggests otherwise. According to the Times, every child interviewed by its reporter was fired—after “[s]upervisors who oversaw the cleaning shift at the Tyson plant warned their corporate office that a reporter was spending a lot of time in town.” One of the fired child workers said: “They made plenty of money from our labor and then tossed us out like trash.”

The Times suggests Tyson evades accountability for illegal child labor by relying on subcontractors. “Even when inspectors do catch child-labor violations,” the Times reported, “they usually fine only the subcontracted companies, not the brands themselves.” In short, “the brands that [have] benefitted from the children’s labor [have] faced no consequences.”

Any company that employs, facilitates, encourages, or excuses child labor must be held to account. In light of the facts, you owe the American people an explanation as to Tyson’s child-labor practices. Please provide me with answers to the following questions by the end of this week:

  1. To your knowledge, how many instances of child labor violations have occurred at Tyson facilities in the past five years?
  2. Is Tyson fully cooperating with the Department of Labor and any other state or federal authorities that may be investigating the company over potential violations of child labor law?
  3. What internal controls are in place to ensure that Tyson does not employ underage workers, or subcontract with companies that employ underage workers?
  4. In light of the Times report, what changes to company policy will Tyson be making?
  5. How does Tyson currently handle complaints from its employees or employees of its subcontractors regarding child labor?
  6. Will Tyson pledge to protect whistleblowers who raise concerns regarding child labor?
  7. Will you commit to ending any contracts with companies that have been fined for illegally employing children?
  8. Will you commit to an independent audit to ensure that Tyson’s entire production chain is free of illegal child labor?

I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Josh Hawley
United States Senator

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis:

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The issues highlighted in the article include child labor practices, unsafe working conditions, and accountability of companies. These issues are connected to SDG 8, which aims to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. SDG 12 is also relevant as it focuses on responsible consumption and production, including the eradication of child labor. Additionally, SDG 16 is connected to the issue of accountability and justice, as it aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor.
  • Target 12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water, and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
  • Target 16.5: Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.

Based on the article’s content, the specific targets that can be identified are Target 8.7, which focuses on eradicating child labor, Target 12.4, which aims to achieve responsible management of chemicals and wastes, and Target 16.5, which aims to reduce corruption and bribery.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group.
  • Indicator 12.4.1: Number of parties to international multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement.
  • Indicator 16.5.1: Proportion of persons who had at least one contact with a public official and who paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials, during the previous 12 months.

The article does not explicitly mention indicators, but based on the identified targets, the following indicators can be used to measure progress:

– Indicator 8.7.1 can be used to measure the proportion and number of children engaged in child labor.

– Indicator 12.4.1 can be used to measure the compliance of parties to international agreements on hazardous waste and chemicals.

– Indicator 16.5.1 can be used to measure the proportion of people who have encountered bribery or corruption with public officials.

4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor. Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production Target 12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water, and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment. Indicator 12.4.1: Number of parties to international multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Target 16.5: Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms. Indicator 16.5.1: Proportion of persons who had at least one contact with a public official and who paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials, during the previous 12 months.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: hawley.senate.gov

 

Eatery fined for child labor violations

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