Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
June 11, 2007 - Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG) Director Keith W. Cooley today announced the renewal of a partnership with Ford Motor Company, Automotive Components Holdings, LLC (ACH), the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), to improve worker health and safety at Ford and ACH facilities in Michigan.
"We are proud to sign this formal partnership with the UAW International Union, Ford Motor Company and Automotive Components Holdings, which says we are all on the same team that makes worker safety priority number one," said Director Cooley. "We're also pledging our support for your continued success as you work to revitalize our automotive industry − working together we can build a stronger Michigan."
The agreement, which renews a partnership agreement first formed in 2002, was signed by officials from each of the partners at the UAW-Ford National Program Center in Detroit. It covers all Ford Motor Company manufacturing facilities, including the company's ACH locations, in Michigan. The agreement aims to continuously reduce work-related injuries and illnesses at the company's Michigan manufacturing locations by optimizing the resources of the partners in the development and administration of plant health and safety standards.
"Pulling together the leadership and resources of Ford, ACH, the UAW and MIOSHA creates a powerful team as we work together to improve our already-high standards of health and safety in our plants," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Company vice president, North America Manufacturing. "Ford is proud of its history in Michigan - particularly of our record of significantly reducing serious on-the-job injuries in recent years. We know that safety always must be top-of-mind, and we welcome the opportunity this agreement provides."
"As our ACH operations continue to go through significant periods of transition, one thing must remain constant - the safety of our people," said Al Ver, Ford Motor Company vice president and CEO and COO of Automotive Components Holdings, LLC. "ACH also can benefit from the partnership and the resources available through this agreement."
The partnership between Ford, ACH, the UAW and MIOSHA is founded on mutual respect, trust, cooperation, accountability, understanding and employee involvement in all plant health and safety issues. Together, the partners are jointly developing a process for data reviews and issue resolution, as well as coordinating site visits and monitoring inspections. Inspection protocols include, but are not limited to ergonomics, heat stress, electrical safety, working at heights, noise control and personal protective equipment.
"Through this agreement, we will be working to create a safe and productive work environment for UAW members at Ford and ACH," said UAW Vice President Bob King, who directs the union's National Ford Department. "Workplace safety is always a huge priority for our union. It's important that our members know that we're working together with Ford and with OSHA and that everyone in the organization is empowered to focus on safe work practices.
"None of us can afford to be complacent where the health and well being of UAW members and other Ford employees is concerned," said King. "We've experienced some painful reminders of what happens when things go wrong - and this agreement is an important opportunity to work together to make things right. We're proud to be part of it."
Under the agreement, Ford, ACH and the UAW will track plant health and safety incidents, submit an annual safety report to MIOSHA and hold an annual plant review with MIOSHA representatives. MIOSHA also will conduct an informal walk-through of the facility during this review and may return to a facility if it wants further data or reviews of specific health and safety issues. Company and union representatives will meet with MIOSHA to conduct the annual review.
MIOSHA inspections to investigate employee complaints, serious accidents and national or state safety mandates are not precluded by this agreement. The newly signed agreement will terminate on Nov. 14, 2009. The partnership will end with respect to the ACH facilities upon the sale or closure of the facilities themselves.
In December 2000, Ford first entered into a similar partnership with the UAW and federal OSHA, which was the first of its kind between an automotive manufacturer, employee union and government agency. Since that time, injury rates have declined in Ford's North America facilities by 77 percent, and the partners have collaborated on other strategic health and safety initiatives. Today, the partners renewed the federal agreement as well.
Other state-specific partnership agreements were reached to cover Ford Motor Company facilities in Minnesota in 2004, Indiana in 2006, and Kentucky earlier this year.
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Aston Martin and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.