Unions fighting the good fight

November 29, 2012
By

A little piece, but one that made me stand up and cheer on a small miner’s union in Vancouver.

Miners Union Fights Drug-Testing Policy

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – A coal miners union wants Teck Coal to put the brakes on a random drug-testing policy before wrapping up arbitration proceedings.

The union claims that the new policy is unjustified, as injury rates at open-pit mines are “lower than that for a lawn bowling facility.”

Two locals of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union claim in B.C. Supreme Court that Teck Coal wants to start randomly drug and alcohol testing miners at its open-pit Elkview and Fording River coal mines known by Dec. 3.

The union filed a grievance, citing privacy concerns. It claims that until now, the company tested workers only before hiring them, for “reasonable cause,” or after an accident.

That’s something that any good union should do – protect its workers from unreasonable intrusion into their private lives.

I really liked a recent tweet from Lee Rosenberg:

Based on my experience, if I encounter a company that wants to drug test applicants, I conclude they have management problems.

Exactly.

He followed that up with a post where he noted that certain industries (in particular, those who need to compete for the best workers) have generally dropped out of the drug testing craze…

Being in the software/internet/IT world, I don’t have to worry about this any more. In fact, if I come across a company that actually wants me to take a drug test (and isn’t being forced by federal policy to do so), I’d take it as a sign there’s something wrong with the company. It’s like saying “we’re so dysfunctional, a person with a drug problem can pass the interview and work here unnoticed”. Almost no companies do it.

Another industry where you’re generally safe is government, as courts have generally held that, except in safety-sensitive positions, government drug testing can be a Fourth Amendment violation.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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