Chrysler Group and the United Auto Workers announced they have been recognized by the National Safety Council (NSC), an independent authority, with a number of awards for outstanding performance in joint company-union efforts to improve employee safety and health in Chrysler Group facilities. In presenting the awards at the 2003 UAW-DaimlerChrysler Annual Meeting on March 11, NSC President and CEO Alan McMillan said, "If you want to be safe in America, go to work. And, if you want to be really safe, go to work at DaimlerChrysler." McMillan presented an overall Significant Improvement Award to the Chrysler Group and the UAW, as well as seven similar awards to various company divisions. The Significant Improvement Award is granted to work sites that exhibit a 20 percent reduction in injuries that result in lost work time. McMillan also presented five Green Cross for Excellence Awards to Chrysler Group divisions that had a rate of lost work days due to injuries that was 50 percent or better than the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics average. The Chrysler Group and the UAW approach health and safety as a collaborative effort. Nate Gooden, UAW vice president and director of the DaimlerChrysler Department, said, "Our employees and constituents have the right to a safe workplace. The Chrysler Group agrees, and our joint labor-management teams work hard every day to ensure it happens." Tom LaSorda, Chrysler Group executive vice president of manufacturing, said, "Safety is more than a priority to us -- it is a core value of how we operate. I am proud of the achievements made by our joint leadership team and the entire workforce, and I know we can do even better." John Franciosi, senior vice president of employee relations, added, "We are delighted that such a distinguished organization as the NSC has recognized our efforts in safety and health." In April, 33 individual plants and depot operations will receive the NSC's Significant Improvement Award. In addition, 22 individual sites will receive the Green Cross Award and four locations will receive the Perfect Award, presented to facilities that had no injuries in 2002 resulting in lost work time. Jim Thomas, director of health, safety and medical operations for the Chrysler Group, credited the results to management and union leadership, along with a joint program titled "Bringing Excellence to Safety Teams" (BEST). "We have standardized our safety processes, which are driven by our leadership teams, resulting in 'ownership' of safety and health issues by all parties. Because of that, our incident rates and rate of lost work days have fallen well over 50 percent in three years." Thomas added, "It's a total win for everybody involved -- the company, the union, and most of all, our employees and our families. Yet, as good as we've become in safety and health, we recognize there are further opportunities for improvement."