Milk Minute: Committed to Us. Committed to Them.

By Kelly Kerrigan, MMPA Human Resources Director

More so than ever, it’s critical that we provide a safe work environment for our employees. As an employer, we have an obligation to ensure our employees return home to their families, the same way that they came in. Today, people have options where they want to work, and every day employees are evaluating whether we’re worthy of their commitment to us. Workplace safety is important not only to attract and retain people, but it’s the right thing to do. People need to feel safe in their working environment.

Our Constantine, Michigan facility was recently awarded an International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) safety award for outstanding worker safety. This continues the success after MMPA’s Middlebury, Indiana facility received two awards in the program last year. The IDFA award program evaluates applicants on occupational injury and illness performance rate and is a demonstration of our efforts in improving worker safety across our entire campus. The Constantine plant has gone nearly two years without a lost time accident or recordable injury. Their impressive achievements are a testament to the facility’s management and employee commitment to safety.

Even after these notable achievements, we continue to prioritize safety in all of our plants At our facility in Canton, Ohio, we’ve partnered with OSHA to invite them into our facility on a monthly basis to proactively address safety concerns. When they visit, we work together to evaluate machine guarding, height of steps, handrail access, accessibility of fire extinguishers and more so that we can ensure a safe working environment for our employees.

The labor environment continues to be a challenge across the region. To hear directly from employees and address their concerns, MMPA’s leadership team met with each salary employee one-on-one to solicit feedback on why they like working at MMPA, what they find challenging about their jobs and what we can do better as an employer. We’ve been using the feedback we’ve received to prioritize our initiatives and address their concerns.

During the one-on-one meetings, it was obvious that our employees take a lot of pride in who they’re working for. At MMPA, we work for farmers who have a seven-day commitment and know what hard work is. Our employees take a lot of pride in making sure we support our members to the best of our ability. This unique level of commitment is one of many reasons that we have so many long-serving employees who will be recognized for achieving service milestones this fall, and for the many employees we celebrated retirements with these past few months. Their many years of service is a testament to their commitment to the cooperative and our members.

Looking forward, we continue to leverage technology to help with streamlining our employee communications and recognition and finding ways to continue improving our workplace safety. Our employees take a lot of pride in making sure we support our members to the best of our ability, and we want to ensure that we’re loyal to their commitment.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2023 issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »