The United Steelworkers intends to fight the Iron Ore Company of Canada who plan to require drug testing for some new employees at its mine in Labrador West starting in January. It said drug tests would be mandatory for people hired to work in what the mine calls “safety sensitive positions.”
Union members feel that the move is a thinly veiled attempt to invade their privacy and a form of management intimidation according to United Steelworkers Local 5795 president George Kean.
“We had calls from some of our members indicating that team leaders had told them that they want them to go for drug testing today,” Kean told CBC News. “When we called back their superintendent … the supervisor said he was just kidding around. We see that as just intimidation.”
The IOC says there’s no plan in place to screen those who are already employed by the company provided there’s no suspicion that the employee may be abusing drugs. The company claims that the move is an attempt to keep the workplace safe for everyone and is based on employee concerns that were brought to management about drug use on the jobsite. Josephine Gaulton-Rowe, the local president of MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) feels that the move is a good one.
“I don’t see why people have a problem with this,” she said. “If they have nothing to hide, why do they have a problem with it? Some of the issues we have now didn’t exist 30 or 40 years ago, and we all know it’s a problem. Impaired operation of vehicles is a big problem.”