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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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AFGE on-board with VPP

By Art Powell, Public Affairs Specialist | | November 19, 2009

In a letter to the commanding general, Marine Corps Logistics Command, Local 2317 of the American Federation of Government Employees, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., agreed to participate in a joint commitment to the Department of Defense’s Voluntary Protection Program initiative..

“The union leadership pledges its full support to VPP and our encouragement in all our local union members to participate,” said Michael R. Rogers, president, AFGE Local 2317, in the letter. “We feel VPP will be an effective tool in reaching our common goal of an incident-free workplace.”The agreement is between the local AFGE, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and LOGCOM to support the VPP initiative.

“The Voluntary Protection Programs cannot be effective without the full support of management, senior leaders, local unions and the employees,” said Michael D. Basnight, director, Installations, Environment, and Safety, LOGCOM. “In some workplaces, unions have had many years of dealing with VPP and it has been reported that if the employer and the union remain vigilant and the employee health and safety committees take an active approach to safeguarding the health and safety of the workers, the VPP program will work.”

He said it is also an opportunity for the employees to have a more active role and provide more input into the workplace health and safety program.

“Every employee is a safety representative and must be actively involved in ensuring the safety and well being of their co-workers,” Basnight said.

VPP requires demonstration of at least three ways employees are meaningfully involved in activities and decision-making that impacts their safety and health. 

Without employee involvement and union support, we won’t be able to reach our goals of changing our safety culture, reducing mishaps, and making the workplace as safe as possible.  Part of that culture change includes a shift in our view of safety as a “workplace” requirement.  A VPP safety and health management program includes workplace safe practices and attitudes that are incorporated in our home and recreational activities as well,” Basnight said.