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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Tyson Foods said on Monday it will pay about $50 million in year-end bonuses to frontline and hourly meatpacking workers starting this month, as companies compete to attract and retain employees.
The one-time bonuses for 86,000 eligible Tyson employees will be based on tenure and range from $300 to $700, the company said.
U.S. meat processors have struggled to find enough workers this year due to the tight labor market and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 59,000 workers were infected with the COVID-19 through January at plants run by Tyson and competitors JBS USA, Cargill Inc, National Beef Packing Company and WH Group's Smithfield Foods, according to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee report.
The meatpacking industry was especially hard hit by the pandemic in part because its workers tend to be in close quarters for long hours.
Tyson said it has spent more than $500 million in wage increases and bonuses for frontline workers over the past year. The average total compensation for its hourly workers tops $24 an hour, counting wages and other benefits like medical insurance, the company said.
In Canada, workers at a Cargill beef plant in High River, Alberta, last week voted on a new company offer backed by union negotiators, just days before a potential strike.
(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Marguerita Choy)