Regarding the recent search conducted on 300 contracted workers as they arrived for work at the Highland Valley Copper mine, I was amazed to hear the responses of the union representatives.
Their comments were: “illegal search,” “a clear violation of our collective agreement,” and “some poisoned practices from some non-union or right-to-work states in the U.S.”
If I read this correctly, the United Steelworkers’ position is, and I quote,“zero-tolerance when it comes to substance abuse around the workplace, which we deal with when we have cause.”
Well, guess what? Your high standard of zero tolerance is not working. I know that because — according to the article — there was cocaine and marijuana found.
I think your claim of illegal search is coming from a weak position considering what was uncovered, and you have a far more serious safety issue to address.
A portion of your workers are telling you they don’t care about your zero tolerance, or that they are endangering their follow employees by using drugs in the workplace.
The other clean workers are unwilling or unable to say anything because of the union brotherhood code.
I don’t believe that employees bring drugs to work, without ever planning to use them.
Apparently, nothing is done until there is someone hurt or killed on the job.
If you as a union representative want to be concerned about something, let it be the safety of the workers who don’t bring drugs to work.
Taking the position that they should have been aware that a search was going occur is like posting a sign on the road: “Police road check ahead, get rid of your liquor and put a
sober driver at the wheel.”
If you were serious about eliminating drugs and drug use in the workplace, then your zero-tolerance policy should read: “If you’re wired, you’re fired.”
In closing, I would be interested to know what steps these unions have taken recently to eliminate drugs use on the job, and if they have effective measures in place to address this issue and to prevent future problems.
Let us not forget that the real goal here regarding drugs is to create a safer workplace for everyone. I would also hope that their policies would result in zero drugs on any future unannounced drug searches by the employer.