Fired Tyson boss says COVID betting pool was a ‘morale boost’

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FILE – In this May 2020, file photo, Tyson’s Fresh Meat workers file in for a tour of safety measures put into place after the plant in Waterloo, Iowa, had to shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The family of a Tyson Foods employee are alleging in a lawsuit that he died from COVID-19 after the meat processing giant failed to implement safety protocols to guard against the coronavirus at the Iowa plant where he worked. (Brandon Pollock/The Courier via AP, File)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One of the Tyson Foods managers fired for betting on how many workers would contract COVID-19 at their Iowa pork plant says the office pool was spontaneous and intended to boost morale.

Don Merschbrock, former night manager at the plant in Waterloo, Iowa, said he was speaking out in an attempt to show that the seven fired supervisors are “not the evil people” that Tyson has portrayed.

Tyson announced the terminations of the Waterloo managers on Dec. 16, weeks after the betting allegation surfaced in wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of four workers who died of COVID-19.

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