Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor, Ford Motor Co. and Union Officials Sign Safety Partnership Agreement

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 10, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Steve Morrison

Partnership effort a first through Department of Labor’s Division of Compliance

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today joined officials from the UAW International Union and Ford Motor Co. to sign a historic safety partnership agreement that uses cooperation as a shield against injury and illness.

Governor Fletcher said the agreement is the first of its kind between a company and the Department of Labor’s Division of Compliance, an agency that enforces Kentucky's occupational safety and health standards.

“This approach to ensuring the health and safety of workers depends on the voluntary cooperation of the government, the employer, the employee and the employee union,” said Governor Fletcher. “I commend the Ford Motor Co. and the UAW for making workforce safety a priority.”

A steering committee consisting of representatives from Ford, the UAW, and the labor department will guide the development of a plan to reduce injuries and illnesses year-over-year, to review data and reports and to meet as appropriate to resolve any safety issues that arise during the course of the partnership.

The steering committee will also be involved in the coordination of site visits and monitoring inspections of Ford’s two Louisville plants by the labor department. The inspections include an investigation of hazards and safety issues such as ergonomics, noise control, electrical safety, emergency preparedness, heat stress, machine and equipment guarding and lifting and rigging, among others.

“There is history of a strong partnership between Ford, the UAW, and the commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Joe Bobnar, manager of Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant. “It is this partnership that has led to the significant, ongoing safety improvements in the Kentucky Office of Occupational Safety and Health’s statistics for Ford. This agreement is another proactive step in our continuing to work together for the common goal of improving our employees' safety.”

Employee awareness and involvement are the cornerstones of health and safety at Ford, which has a formal safety and health program employing professionals at the corporate and operations levels. There have been formal commitment statements from the union and the company since the first collective bargaining agreement.

This agreement covers the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane and the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road.