Tyson Among Few Companies Now Employing Workplace Chaplains

July 25, 2006

Source: Arkansas Catholic


On July 25, 2006 the Arkansas Catholic reported, "Across the United States and overseas there is a growing trend in large corporations and smaller businesses to offer a program called workplace chaplaincy. While the idea of chaplains in hospitals, prisons and police departments has been around for a while, having interfaith ministers in the corporate world is a relatively new concept. Companies are hiring or contracting with chaplains as a way to address employee issues, including mental health, retention, productivity and morale. One of the largest American companies, Tyson Foods Inc., with corporate offices in northwest Arkansas, now has in place a chaplaincy program that serves employees in 81 plants and 161 locations. Workplace chaplaincy programs are also used at major employers like Coca-Cola Bottling and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Some companies contract with organizations such as Corporate Chaplains of America of Wake Forest, N.C., and Marketplace Ministries of Dallas for chaplains. The Tyson program includes the director, Alan Tyson (no relation to the Tyson Food family), and managers of chaplain operations, Charles White and Justo Gonzalez II. In addition to these full-time corporate chaplains, there are 126 part-time chaplains available to work with employees as well. These individuals work on location to serve Tyson employees at plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Tyson Foods Inc. is the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork... 'We have a diversity of people too, not only in terms of faith traditions but in terms of cultures and linguistic abilities. We now have chaplains that number 60 Caucasian, 42 Hispanic, 18 African-American, 4 Asian, 51 bilingual and 11 females,' Gonzalez said. When these chaplains work in the various plant locations, they are there to walk the production lines and check on the employees."