By Carol Vaughn — Tyson Foods recently initiated a ride-share program, called Commute with Enterprise, to help its employees have a low-cost way to commute to work.
The program began last year and has grown to include 26 Tyson facilities, including the processing plant in Temperanceville, where around 60 employees participate.
More than 1,000 Tyson employees in total participate, saving an estimated 4 million commuter miles, according to a press release.
In the Commute with Enterprise program, companies such as Tyson, among others, partner with Enterprise to offer the ride-share program to employees.
Enterprise, best know for its rental car service, works with each location to develop a vanpooling plan, grouping employees based on where they live and the shifts they work.
The program provides each group with a minivan, SUV, or passenger van, along with maintenance and insurance. The riders share responsibilities, including taking turns driving.
Participants can save money by sharing the cost of renting the vehicle and gas. It costs on average between $15 and $25 per week to participate.
“We’re always looking for ways to create a better experience for our team members as many live and work in rural America and face long commute times,” said Hector Gonzalez, head of labor and team member relations for Tyson Foods.
“This program gives them a reliable way to work while also helping them save money. It also helps offset the impact of higher fuel prices,” Gonzalez said.
“I’m extremely grateful for the transportation program,” said Gesner Clermont, an employee at the Temperanceville plant. “It allows me to let my wife use our only vehicle while I’m at work, so I don’t have to worry about my family getting around. I also love that I can help other co-workers who cannot drive themselves,” he said.
“Before the ride-share program, my drive from Winston-Salem to Wilkesboro was about 54 miles, and I spent most of my evenings in the car,” said Hazel Tibbs, a Tyson team member in Wilkesboro, N.C. “Now I have more time to do things for myself and exhale from life while only spending $25 per week,” she said.
“The Enterprise service has given a lot of our team members that live on the Eastern Shore a reliable means of transportation,” said Daniel Hudson, Temperanceville Human Resources Manager.
“Since partnering with Enterprise, absenteeism has improved with the team members that have lacked a reliable source of transportation to work. We currently have 15 vans that are running, and these vans pick up about 60 team members and bring them to work daily,” Hudson said.
Some Tyson Foods facilities also are taking other measures to assist employees with transportation. Tyson’s facility in Eagle Mountain, Utah, created a car purchasing program by providing employees three installments of $500 each to help them buy reliable transportation.
Over the course of 90 days, $1,500 is paid directly to the dealership for the purchase.
Full-time and part-time hourly employees, management support, and temporary hires are eligible for the program.
According to the release, Tyson Foods has invested more than $500 million in wage increases and bonuses for frontline workers over the past year. Additionally, the company is piloting subsidized and onsite child care, as well as having seven near-site health centers.
Tyson also provides legal and citizenship support for immigrant employees and the company recently announced it will provide free education assistance for all United States employees. An increasing number of Tyson production facilities are also offering more flexible work schedules for frontline workers.