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Black Hawk County state legislators submit open records request on Tyson outbreak

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Black Hawk County legislators received a call from Tyson Food, Inc. CEO on the current work environment at the Waterloo Tyson pork plant.

Earlier this week, a wrongful death lawsuit tied to COVID-19 infections in the Waterloo Tyson Pork Processing Plant alleges managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19.

Iowa Rep. RasTafari I. Smith (D), Rep. Timi Brown-Powers (D), Rep. Bob Kressig (D), Rep. Dave Williams (D) and Sen. Eric Giddens all represent Black Hawk County. These legislators say the call from Tyson was "sincere" on a fair investigation into the federal lawsuit. However, since the outbreak from this past spring "talk is cheap when it comes to Tyson."

"Your number one concern has to be your employees and regaining the trust within them and then regaining the trust within the community," Rep. Brown-Powers said to Tyson's CEO.

Rep. Brown-Powers and Rep. Smith partnered on an open records request to Gov. Kim Reynolds' office on all documents pertaining to Tyson from March 1 to April 20, 2020.

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State Sen. Eric Giddens says the lawsuit allegations against Tyson are familiar.

"What we are hearing in these allegations is not inconsistent in what we've been hearing for a long time, and it's going to take a long time into the future to build any sort of trust that's going to be lasting," Sen. Giddens said.

During the outbreak at the plant, more than 1,000 workers were infected with the coronavirus, along with five workers' deaths.

The governor's office said they will honor all records requests, but responses have been delayed.

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Vinny Lowerre

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