Job security protections, wide information sharing, and profit sharing are all important building blocks for this structure of workplace cooperation.
A negotiated central fund and local training funds support these joint endeavors. An administrative direction is furnished by the first National Training Center ever negotiated in the United States, plus a network of national and local committees that extends to all 68 Ford-UAW locations in the U.S.
Each workplace program has a purpose, structure, and focus of its own. Some have large programs within programs. For example, there are more than 21 individual programs in education and development and technical skills training.
The UAW-Ford experience has demonstrated two especially significant lessons about joint programs. The first is that leadership, trust, and funding are critical ingredients – not structure. The second is that an evolutionary approach, progressing from fairly simple applications to those that are more comprehensive and integrated, is important to create and to sustain large-scale transformation.
On a national basis, it is more instructive to look at UAW-Ford workplace cooperation efforts that have been crafted over time from a historical perspective than it is to describe the discrete programs which today constitute this joint initiative. Every group’s culture, customs, and orientation to change are different, and Ford and the UAW afford individual locations considerable latitude on how they shape and run their local programs around national principles and support. Our belief is that dynamic local processes can only emanate from full participation, empowerment, and ownership of the local parties.
Ford and the UAW are leaders in developing a broad range of approaches to worker involvement and labor-management cooperation. These efforts, which have expanded and deepened over the years, have helped transform the Company in many ways. They have helped Ford plants gain recognition for being among the most productive in the world, and they have contributed to increased market share, improved economic performance, and enhanced employee development and work satisfaction.
The Ford and UAW joint initiatives are national and local. At both levels, they address matters of common concern in areas such as product quality, education, and development, employee involvement, team structures, work technical skills redesign, health and safety, ergonomics, employee assistance, apprenticeship, and labor-management studies.