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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Ford, Christman/Brinker, Building and Construction Trades Council, and MIOSHA Take Safety Partnership to the Next Level for Workers at Michigan Central Station Renovation

February 8, 2021

Media Contact: 

LEO: Jason Moon, Communication Director, 517-282-0041
Christman-Brinker: Kelly Gmazel, Corporate Marketing Director, 517-482-1488
Ford: Dawn Booker 313-600-1480

Partners in Safety

Byron, Cheryl hold signed Partners in Safety banner in front of Ford's Michigan Central St

The strength of collaboration is at the center of a new workforce safety and training agreement, where the combined focus is on zero worker injuries and incidents during the rehabilitation and construction of Ford’s Michigan Central Station. The Christman Company in a joint venture with L.S. Brinker, A Brinker Company, (Christman/Brinker Corktown Transformation Joint Venture) and alongside the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) are working with Ford on an unparalleled workforce safety program. The resulting agreement blends the project leaders with the project’s trade contractors in the signing of a formal safety partnership.

Safety Partners Video

Video: Ford, Christman/Brinker and MIOSHA host virtual event to kick off Safety Partnership

Michigan Central Station built in 1913 is one of the few surviving grand railroad stations. The 647,000 square foot building consists of a 15-story office tower set atop a 3-story base that includes a vaulted waiting room, arcade, ticket lobby and concourse.

Ford is transforming Michigan Central Station into the centerpiece of a new mobility innovation district in Corktown to shape the future of mobility and transportation. It will be the place where Ford and its partners will work on autonomous and electric vehicle businesses, and design new solutions that make mobility more convenient and accessible through smart, connected vehicles, roads, parking and public transit. This dedication to innovation and safety created the perfect complement for a focus on project safety as the team delivers a revitalized train station.

 “This is a pivotal project for Ford, for Detroit and for the hundreds of workers that are restoring one of the city’s greatest historic assets,” said Wendy Burkett, Ford’s director of global safety. “The safety of workers is our number one priority and we welcome the opportunity this agreement provides to unite as one team with MIOSHA, Christman/Brinker and the onsite trades to achieve our goal of zero injuries or accidents. We want everyone who plays a role in restoring this magnificent building to return safe and sound to their families and communities.”

“The mission of MIOSHA is to protect the safety and health of Michigan workers and these types of collaborative agreements help ensure everyone goes home at the end of their shift healthy and whole,” said MIOSHA Director, Bart Pickelman. “These construction companies embody the dedication that puts safety and health at the center of the work and they serve as mentors to the other trade contractors on this project.  MIOSHA is pleased to partner with Ford, Christman/Brinker, the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, and all of the trade contractors and workers on this project and thank them for their commitment to safety.”

Signing partners were limited at the ceremonial event, as COVID-19 protocols were in place to protect members of the team. The signing occurred before the partnership announcement and included Wendy Burkett, director, global safety at Ford; Bart Pickelman, director, MIOSHA; Larry Brinker Jr., CEO, Brinker; Dwight Hooks, executive vice president, L.S. Brinker (A Brinker Company); Steve Roznowski, CEO, Christman; Don Staley, vice president and safety director, Christman; Patrick Devlin, secretary-treasurer, Michigan Construction Building and Construction Trades Council; Byron Dandridge Jr., first year carpenter apprentice at Brinker Team Construction (A Brinker Company)—former Fast Track cohort; and Cheryl Sanford, CEO, Michigan Workforce Development Institute. In keeping with coronavirus safety practices, trade contractors will have the opportunity to sign the agreement electronically as they join the team. 

"On behalf of our building trades workers, we're delighted to be involved in renovating this wonderful, historic train station, where there is such an intensive focus on safety practices," said Patrick Devlin, secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. "We're glad that MIOSHA, Ford and the Christman/Brinker team recognize there is nothing more important in our business than making sure our construction workers enjoy safe shifts on the job so they can go home to their family."

Partnerships are a strategic initiative for MIOSHA, as they help to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative relationships. This approach moves away from traditional enforcement methods and embraces collaborative agreements to protect the health and safety of Michigan workers.

”We are honored to, once again, stand beside MIOSHA and take part in this level three safety partnership,” said Don Staley, Christman’s vice president and safety director. “Our approach is simply stated, Safety: It’s How We Live. This is not merely a slogan, it is our daily commitment. On behalf of the Christman/Brinker team, we are serious about accepting the agreement, as we personify safety through a multifaceted, coordinated safety strategy which will provide confidence and security for all of the workers with whom we partner.”

The partnership will have a safety commitment of “zero injuries and zero accidents.” As a level three partnership, the primary goals are specific in scope and will center around safety training with a focus on workers new to the industry. The Michigan Central Station project is host to a new worker Fast Track Job Program.

This Fast Track work experience program is a joint initiative aimed at providing a pathway from existing training and on-boarding efforts to creating skilled city workers for future construction projects. These safety and training opportunities help build tomorrow’s workforce. The Michigan Central Station Fast Track Job Program was launched by Ford Motor Company, Christman/Brinker, Detroit at Work, Workforce Development Institute, Barton Malow, SkillSmart and Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council.

The partnership does not preclude MIOSHA from initiating enforcement action to address complaints, fatalities or serious accidents, nor does it infringe on the rights of employees to report workplace hazards.

Download images from the Safety Partnership event