The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

A disaster which turned out to be very profitable for Ford

Jul 16, 2001

FM Global, the primary insurer for the Rouge Steel part of the Ford Rouge automobile complex in Dearborn, Michigan, recently made its final payment settling claims resulting from the February 1999 explosion at the Rouge powerhouse. Rouge Industries has now collected over 343 million dollars in insurance claims. In addition, Dearborn Industrial Generation, the joint venture of Ford Motor Company, Rouge Steel and Detroit Edison, asked for and received a 12-year, 50% reduction of its real estate and personal property taxes to help finance the new power plant. Of course, they had already been working on that plant before the old one blew up.

The company's insurance also paid 30 million dollars to the families of the six workers who were killed and the dozens who were seriously injured.

So what did Ford Motor Company pay from all this money it collected for this disaster? Just a 1.5 million dollar fine to MIOSH (Michigan Occupational Safety and Health) plus another 5.5 million dollars to improve health and safety throughout the plant –only 7 million dollars total!

The "accident" which was no accident killed or maimed dozens of workers. On the other side of the ledger, it netted Rouge Steel, and Ford which stands behind it, hundreds of millions of dollars in return.

Hardly an encouragement to pay more attention to safety!