Mar 5, 2001
A Chief of the Dearborn Fire Department, when interviewed by a local TV reporter, recounted Ford's safety record. Last year, his department had 129 runs to the Rouge complex –among which were 23 for fires and explosions, 17 for rescue and medical, 16 for hazardous emissions. He called this "normal" for a big industrial complex, nothing to worry about.
We wouldn't expect anything else from the City of Dearborn, nor from the State of Michigan, which has been very quiet so far. They are, plain and simple, in Ford's pocket.
The union, of course, should be another matter. After the first Power House disaster, however, top UAW spokesmen rushed to issue statements praising Ford's "safety" record and commending its executives for their promises to improve safety. None of the hundreds of "accidents" since then, including this most recent fatal one, have evoked the least public reproach from the UAW leadership.
For years, the top leadership of the UAW has argued that the workers' interests are best served by maintaining a "partnership" with companies that are "friendly." It is out of the question to reproach a "friendly" company like Ford –the top leadership of the UAW has been too busy trying to prove that it is a junior partner that Ford can count on.
Ford's essential priority is to accumulate profit. But profit is wrung from the workers' labor. Everything which gets more production out of the same number of workers –including neglect of safety –improves profit.
There can be no "partnership" which really serves both the bosses and the workers. The "partnership" that has been foisted on us has put the workers in the service of the bosses. The result has been a faster pace of work and inadequate safety protection, with often deadly consequences for the workers.
The workers can best serve their own interests by organizing together against the bosses –which is nothing more than what a union should and could do.