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UFCW Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Denial of Tyson’s Petition for Review in COVID-19 Cases

February 22, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and other essential industries across North America, released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Tyson’s petition for review in the cases Buljic v. Tyson Foods, Inc. and Fernandez v. Tyson Foods, Inc. yesterday.

The cases, which are wrongful death claims brought on behalf of the surviving family members of meatpacking workers who died after being exposed to COVID-19 at work in Tyson’s Waterloo, IA plant, have been locked in a protracted legal fight. The Court’s decision today confirms that the cases will continue to be heard in Iowa state court.

UFCW International Vice President and Director of the Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division Mark Lauritsen released the following statement:

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered an important victory for these families who are continuing to grieve the loss they suffered as their loved ones were required to carry on in their essential roles. The fight is not over, as these cases will continue to proceed in Iowa state court, but, hopefully, this brings the family one step closer to securing some peace and recourse.

“Through today’s rejection of Tyson’s petition, the Court sent a powerful message that these companies will not be able to easily dodge culpability for their decisions during the worst period of the pandemic through legal gimmicks or by hiding behind the federal government. The cases will be heard on their merit, and Tyson’s will have to continue facing these families directly in court.

“Today and every day, the UFCW stands with essential workers and their families everywhere.”


The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.

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