I’m not a member of the Steelworker’s Union fighting the random drug and alcohol testing introduced by Teck in the Valley, but I fully support the union in taking Teck to court over this.
Milligan states that the testing only applies to operations employees. This is already a violation of human rights, because, by Teck’s own admission, not all employees are being treated equally.
Milligan says 39 job applicants last year tested positive for various drugs of concern. Terrific, don’t hire them. I spent 15 years in the transportation industry before moving to the Valley, and am glad he brought up the subject of random testing in the transportation industry. The only reason random testing in the transportation industry began in Canada, was for carriers who enter the United States. In order to be in compliance with US laws, Canadian carriers had to begin random testing of employees to meet US regulations. The courts recognized that Canadian employees were being denied their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, however, if they voluntarily chose to give up their rights to privacy to be employed with a carrier operating in the US, it was admissible. I don’t know of any Teck employees who signed any kind of contract giving up their rights to privacy or the right to deny illegal search and seizure when they were hired. To be told by the company “if you don’t like it, quit” does not begin to address the serious breach of privacy they are committing by forcing random testing on employees. Milligan says that since the transportation industry introduced random testing fatal crashes involving highway trucks reduced by 23 per cent. You know what else reduced by 23 per cent? Fatal accidents in the general public. Since 1995, when random testing was legislated in Canada, fatal accidents involving all drivers has reduced by 23 per cent.In random testing, statistics released by the companies administering the tests show drug related failures in a random test at 0.4 per cent, alcohol around 5 per cent. To extrapolate that these miniscule percentages account for a 23 per cent reduction in fatal accidents is nonsensical. Another thing that was introduced in the transportation industry at the time was shorter hours of service regulations and mandatory safety equipment being installed on vehicles among other beneficial safety improvements. On November 28 the Supreme Court of Alberta ruled that Suncor’s introduction of random drug and alcohol was “a significant breach of worker’s rights.” I couldn’t agree more.