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Union condemns Suncor's random drug testing plans

Suncor, oilsands project

The union representing more than 3 thousand Suncor workers is crying foul over the company’s plans to implement random drug testing in Fort McMurray.

The Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union says random tests don’t reduce drug use, and the company ought to focus on a broader policy instead.

CEP Western region Vice President Jim Britton says they were caught off guard by the policy.

“We understood that there was an issue in Fort McMurray that the company wanted to address, and we were prepared to sit down and address it with them,” he said. “But to find the policy being random drug testing, we were somewhat surprised.”

He says it’s not just a privacy issue, but a dignity issue as well.

“We believe that all of our members, most of the employees who work for companies who have drug and alcohol programs, do deserve some respect and dignity in the worksite,” he said. “And we think that by bringing people in to drug test our people, we lower that standard.”

Britton insists there’s a better way.

“We need to be able to reach out to our people who have addictions and say there is an alternative,” he said. “There is a way for you to find another lifestyle, and here it is – we don’t do that in most workplaces.”

The Supreme Court will soon be deciding whether random drug testing violates privacy rights.

Published June 20, 2012