Unifor to appeal ruling on Suncor drug and alcohol testing program

FORT MCMURRAY, AB, May 18, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor 707-A has announced the Union will appeal the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta's decision to quash a previous Arbitration Panel ruling prohibiting the random drug and alcohol testing of the Union's members at Suncor in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

"Random drug and alcohol testing violates the basic rights of our members and therefore we stand by the Arbitration Panel ruling," said Unifor Western Director Joie Warnock. "We will be filing an application to appeal with the Alberta Court of Appeal."

In 2012, Suncor unilaterally announced the implementation of random drug and alcohol testing in its Oilsands operations. Unifor filed a grievance on behalf of its members which resulted in the formation of an Arbitration Panel. In March 2014, following 23 days of hearings,  the Arbitration Panel ruled that Suncor's proposed random testing violated the fundamental rights of the Union's bargaining unit members to privacy, respect, and dignity in the workplace and could not  be justified in the circumstances. 

When Suncor announced the unilateral implementation of random drug and alcohol testing, Suncor had in place a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy that includes Post-Incident and Reasonable Cause testing. That comprehensive policy is not affected by the ongoing litigation.

The Union is committed to working with Suncor to develop innovative and effective safety programs that have a demonstrable impact on safety and respect the rights of employees.

"We will continue to work with Suncor to ensure the safety of our members, both on and off the job," said Ian Beaton, Vice President of Local 707-A. "At the moment the priority is the very real danger posed by the forest fires in the Fort McMurray region. Our focus remains on the security of our members and their loved ones."

Further details on the appeal will be released when available.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers.


For further information: please contact Unifor Communications National Representative, Kathleen O'Keefe at Kathleen.OKeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell)


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