SPARWOOD, BC, Jan. 29, 2108 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers have won an arbitration that puts an end to random drug testing by Teck Resources at its unionized coal mines in the Elk Valley.
In December 2012, Teck began randomly testing employees for drug and alcohol use. The union opposed this infringement of employee privacy and took action to oppose its implementation. This view is supported by the significant arbitration decision that recognizes the importance of employee privacy rights and imposes a high bar on employers to justify random testing.
USW District 3 Director Stephen Hunt lauded the decision as a significant victory for not only Steelworkers, but all workers.
"The arbitrator completely rejected the idea that some theoretical, but non-existent safety risk justifies the intrusion of random testing when there is no evidence of workplace problems due to drug and alcohol use," says Hunt.
Hunt says the use of random drug and alcohol testing by employers is very limited and Teck's pursuance of it was contrary to the consensus that random testing is ineffective, does not deter use or reduce workplace accidents or injuries.
"The safety of workers is paramount and we fight for it every day," says Hunt. "Random testing is a distraction that invades privacy and does nothing to keep workers and communities safe."
The victory by USW Locals 7884 and 9346 means the testing is to cease at Fording River and Elkview mines with immediate effect, and pursuant to agreements between Teck, USW Local 7284, and IUOE Local 115, it is also struck down at Coal Mountain and Line Creek mines.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Stephen Hunt, USW Director, 604-816-2554; Dean Lott, USW Staff Representative, 250-231-9788