We all pray for the safety of the brave men and women of the military. They put their lives on the line every day. But wait until you see some of the people that are building parts right here at home for their armored vehicles.
There's a plant in Detroit called Tower Defense and Aerospace. The name itself gives you an idea what they do inside, but it's what we caught them doing outside during their lunch break that will shock you.
Click on the video player to watch Rob Wolchek's report that includes footage of employees drinking and smoking what appears to be marijuana during their shifts.
Tower Defense officials respectfully declined an offer to view footage of the employees before this story aired. They say they are aware of the issue and have an ongoing investigation of their own. Human Resources Director Anthony Ewing tells FOX 2 they take this very seriously.
Update: After watching the story, Tower Defense and Aerospace responds to FOX 2 investigation. Tower officials say 17 employees have been "suspended pending discharge". Click on the second video in the player above to view Rob Wolchek's update to his original report.
Read the full statement from Tower's Executive Director, Investor & External Relations, Derek Fiebig below.
The story reported earlier this week by Fox 2 in Detroit highlighted a very serious issue of unacceptable and reckless employee misconduct that was already under investigation by the company. Working as expeditiously as possible within the bounds of the legal union contract, seventeen employees have been suspended pending discharge. In addition, we are working with the union to ensure that workers will no longer be allowed to leave the premises during the work day. These actions supplement the existing rigorous drug screening and background checks used by Tower to hire 150 new employees since acquiring this business.
As the new owner since mid-April of this year, Tower has made significant improvements in a relatively short period of time in this previously troubled Detroit factory and is dedicated to achieving a safe, high-quality, efficient operation. Building on its extensive automotive experience and proven reputation as a world-class supplier, the company uses multiple in-process and final inspection checks at the affected factory and has achieved an outstanding quality record under Tower's ownership, as validated by our customers.
"It is important to remember that the overwhelming majority of employees are dedicated and hard working," said Tower President and CEO Mark Malcolm. "None of the suspended employees were hired by Tower; all were inherited in the acquisition."
"Tower got involved in this business to fix and positively transform it over time, in order to supply the safe and reliable world-class products that our troops and customers deserve, while creating jobs that can benefit conscientious workers and their families and a community in need of engaged assistance, not abandonment. In taking on the many daunting challenges Tower inherited, we also accept the responsibility and accountability to make things better as quickly as possible. The progress to date has been great, but it is a work in progress. As appalling as this incident has been, the outcome of removing sub-standard employees is yet another positive step in the overall business transformation."
Malcolm concluded: "The bottom line is that the Fox 2 story was a largely accurate but understandably incomplete snapshot. Tower is going to great lengths in the circumstances it inherited to deliver high-quality, reliable products - and that has consistently happened on our watch. We are not going to run and hide from a difficult situation. We're going to continue to fight to make this the world-class operation that is in everyone's best interests. We would like to encourage right-minded, dedicated, hard workers to apply to join our team and help us build a high-quality, high-performing organization that makes the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and our country proud."