Amid this reality, Tyson Foods recently announced a plan to open medical clinics at several of its U.S. plants. Coupled with the addition of 200 nurses and administrative positions in the company’s health services team, executives claim these plans will help “promote a culture of health” among workers. With the new initiative, Tyson joins a growing list of companies with on-the-job medical providers.
But our nation’s history suggests that worksite clinics may do more harm than good, further harming worker health. The U.S. meat and poultry industry has a long history of obstructing worker access to medical care and workers’ compensation benefits and has failed to provide adequate worksite medical treatment.
At the dawn of the 20th century, as the U.S. economy industrialized, workplace injuries in manufacturing were commonplace. Injured workers did not have a right to the free medical treatment, wage replacement for lost work time or permanent disability