Suncor's random drug testing invades privacy without improving safety

FORT MCMURRAY, AB, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Suncor's decision to implement random drug testing at its Fort McMurray properties "is a humiliating invasion of an individual's privacy that has no proven impact on workplace safety," says Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

"Random drug testing shatters our privacy, destroys our dignity, and eliminates trust in our fellow workers and management," says Coles. "And there is little evidence to link random drug testing results to less substance abuse or a safer workplace.

CEP's Western Region Vice-President Jim Britton says that "if employers are so concerned about health and safety, instead of imposing a unilateral company policy, they should negotiate with CEP for an effective broadly-based program to reduce the harmful impacts of substance abuse. That would entail a number of elements including education.

"While CEP recognizes society's drug problem and shares the goal of a drug-free workplace, education is the way to go," says Britton. "Random workplace drug testing in no way addresses the root of the problem."

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union has a long history of opposing random drug testing in the workplace, including numerous court challenges.  Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear an appeal involving whether a worker's right to privacy is breached by random drug testing at the Irving Pulp & Paper Ltd. kraft paper mill in St. John, New Brunswick.

The 120,000-member CEP is the largest union in several key sectors of the Canadian economy, including energy, forestry, communications and media.  It represents about 3,500 workers at the Suncor refinery, who are members of Local 707.

SOURCE COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

For further information:

Dave Coles (613) 299-5628; Jim Britton (604) 992-6625

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COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

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