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Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Christman/Kraus-Anderson and MIOSHA Sign Partnership to Ensure Worker Safety at Four Winds Casino Project This is the first MIOSHA partnership with an Indian Nation
May 2, 2012 - The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (Pokagon Band), Christman/Kraus-Anderson, a joint venture (CKA), the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), the Michigan and Southwest Michigan Building and Construction Trades Councils, and the Partnering Contractors signed a formal partnership on May 1st, to protect workers at the Four Winds Casino New Buffalo Expansion Project. The MIOSHA program is part of LARA.
The partnership goal is enhanced safety and health protection and zero injuries for workers on this major facility project. The Pokagon Band is a Supporting Partner to this agreement.
"We are honored to join with Christman today in its fourth construction partnership. On every project they have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to protect their workers," said LARA Deputy Director Rob Nederhood. "We are also honored to recognize the leadership of the Pokagon Band on this historic partnership that emphasizes worker protections for this outstanding Four Winds Casino expansion project."
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is in the process of adding a nine-story hotel tower to its Four Winds Casino New Buffalo complex, which is located on Pokagon Band trust land in New Buffalo, Michigan. Christman/Kraus-Anderson (a joint venture of The Christman Company and Minnesota-based Kraus-Anderson Construction Company) is serving as construction manager on the $50 million expansion tower which will contain 251 suites and rooms. A new 1,600-seat, 70,000 square-foot multi-use event center is part of the expansion and also underway is a 13,000 square-foot Hard Rock Cafe Four Winds restaurant.
"A shared focus on safety with the partners on our construction projects is a positive extension of the values of the Pokagon Band which provide for the health, safety and welfare of our own members," said Matthew Wesaw, Pokagon Band Tribal Chairman. "We strongly support this initiative to put respect for human safety at the top of everyone's priorities."
Signing partners included: Jay Smith, Senior Vice President, CKA; Don Staley, Safety Manager, CKA; Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Council Chairman, Pokagon Band; Hugh Coward, President, Southwest Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council; Rob Nederhood, Deputy Director, LARA; and Martha Yoder, Director, MIOSHA. Also signing were the subcontractors and building trades unions working on the project.
"Safety is a top priority on every project and we want every worker to return to his or her home and family safely each day," said Don Staley, Corporate Safety Manager for Christman/Kraus-Anderson. "We are pleased and proud that virtually every organization involved in this project is not only philosophically embracing the ideal vision of a zero-injury workplace - but also agreeing to support the tactical action plans outlined in this agreement to help make it happen."
The Partnering Employers include: Booms Stone; Carrier Construction Company; Cavalier Painting; Christman Constructors, Inc.; Cook Jackson; Calvin & Co.; Davenport Masonry; Hunt / Swan; Johnson Controls, Inc.; John E. Green; Limbach; Meyer Glass; Midland Engineering; Midwest Tile & Interiors; Premier Caulking; Otis Elevators; Steelcon; and William Reichenbach Company.
The Southwest Michigan and the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Councils and their affiliate unions are supportive of this partnership. The partnering unions include: Operating Engineers, Local #324; Laborers, Local #355; Plumbers/Pipefitters, Local #357; Painters, Local #312; Heat & Frost Insulators & Asbestos Workers, Local #75; Plasterers and Cement Masons, Local #16; Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters; Bricklayers, Local #9; Sheet Metal, Local #20; Electrical Workers, Local #153; Roofers, Local # 23; Ironworkers, Local #292; Sprinkler Fitters, Local #669; Boilermakers Local #169.
"We know that work-related injuries and illnesses costs the nation billions of dollars in salary and other compensation every year, not to mention the impact on the workers and their loved ones," said Hugh Coward, President of the Southwest Michigan Building and Construction Trade Council. "We recognize safety as good business, too, and are happy to add the voices of our membership to this important initiative."
In addition to zero injuries and accidents, the key elements to the CKA site-specific Safety and Health Program for the Four Winds Hotel New Buffalo Expansion are (this list is not intended to be all encompassing):
Partnerships are an important emphasis in MIOSHA's Strategic Plan to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative relationships with groups, including trade associations, labor organizations, and employers. Partnerships move away from traditional enforcement methods and embrace collaborative agreements.
"The MIOSHA program is dedicated to working with employers to find innovative ways to enhance workplace safety and health," said MIOSHA Director Martha Yoder. "Through partnerships, MIOSHA can offer employers a voluntary, cooperative relationship to help eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of safety and health."
The partnership does not preclude MIOSHA from enforcing its mission of addressing complaints, fatalities, or serious accidents, nor does it infringe on the rights of employees to report workplace hazards.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians' federal recognition was restored and signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The tribe's ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. The Pokagon Band provides services including housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation to approximately 4,400 Pokagon citizens. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., which is the premier gaming destination in the Midwest. The Tribe's administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich. More information is available at www.pokagon.com.
Christman/Kraus-Anderson is a construction management joint venture of The Christman Company, a Michigan-based ENR 400-based top contracting firm founded in 1894, and Kraus-Anderson Construction, a Minnesota-based constructor founded in 1897 that has completed more gaming, hotel and other projects on tribal lands than any other contractor in the United States. For more information, visit www.christmanco.com and www.kraus-anderson.com.
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