Drug test

Why do unions oppose drug testing? Don’t they care for safety?

The unions usually bang on about workplace safety. And they have a point mostly.

No one wants people to go to work and be put at risk of serious injury or worse.

Yet we constantly see unions opposing drug testing. Why?

A union has criticised plans to drug test workers for kava as discriminatory – but the company involved has categorically denied the claim.

In a statement yesterday, the First Union said Goodman Fielder’s employees at the Quality Bakers site in Dunedin would be subject to testing for kava.

However, both the company and the Drug Detection Agency, which Goodman Fielder has contracted to carry out drug testing, have denied workers would be tested for kava.

The union is standing by its claim, and says such testing would be discriminatory,

“Classing kava as a drug will have a racist impact. It effectively means targeting Pasifika people,” First Union organiser Jerome Mika said.

The roots of the kava plant are used to produce a drink which has a sedative effect. It is used throughout the Pacific and is known as ‘ava in Samoa and ‘awa in Hawaii.

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Whadda ya got to hide Beven?

I see the boss of the prison guards union is having a sook about drug tests.

The Department of Corrections is facing a backlash after introducing random drug and alcohol testing for prison guards.

The new testing regime took effect on July 1 and means any officers involved in accidents or fights – or who are suspected of being under the influence – will have to undergo on-the-spot testing.

The Corrections Association union estimates 2000 guards will be tested each year, at a cost of more than $1 million.

President Beven Hanlon said it was ludicrous for guards to be tested when drugs were rife among the prisoners, who can be tested only if they volunteer.

He said there were far more urgent risks to prison guards’ safety and the money would be better spent on stab-proof vests.   Read more »

Why is Helen Kelly against drug testing?

Today is the day that the governments welfare reforms kick in. One of the reforms is to introduce drug testing for jobseekers in relevant industries.

Other new obligations include drug-testing for jobseekers in relevant industries, which is expected to trigger benefit cuts for up to 5800 people, and a requirement for beneficiaries to clear outstanding arrest warrants.

All pretty sensible things, but why is Helen Kelly opposed to drug testing?

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Helen Kelly and the Stoned Forestry Workers

Helen Kelly has popped up again having a dig at some employers who she doesn’t want drug testing people using dangerous equipment to fell bloody big trees.

Ms Kelly said the industry’s “one trick pony” of drug testing was insufficient to end the workplace toll.
While drug testing was important, the industry needed to take into account other factors to reduce forest fatalities, such as training issues, trained health and safety representatives and reasonable work hours.

How about this Helen? Take the drugs out the of forestry industry and see if that works first. Whats the bet stoned workers are more likely to be injured and die, and your denial of this simple fact is killing workers. Chainsaws and marijuana do not mix.

Helen Kelly, Unions and Drug Testing

Observation by the OWL – Helen Kelly, NZCTU and Drug Testing

The Owl is rarely home on a Friday night and equally does not watch Close Up. However through some extraordinary circumstances I was able to munch of some Fish and Chips and the headline on Drug Testing and Helen Kelly got me interested while watching TV.

Furthermore there was a poll asking “if beneficiaries should be tested for drugs?”  It cost 75 cents so I sent my Yes or No vote via text.

According to Close Up, 19,000 people voted which was apparently one of the highest they said.

Helen Kelly argued that the “real issue is not drug-testing but that the National Government is running the economy into the ground”.

The representative from the Drug Testing Company said approximately 9% return positive tests in the workforce.

Helen Kelly responded by saying the company was a commercial operation and had no real place in this the discussion (this was the OWL’s take).

The Owl’s Observation:

The discussion between the interviewer and the interviewees was irrelevant and quite frankly close to boring however 19,000 sent a clear message to Helen Kelly, NZCTU and the Government.

90% of the 19,000 who decided to spend 75 cents, or go on the facebook page said beneficiaries should be tested. Why is this poll so more important than any other random poll run by newspapers etc, 19,000 New Zealanders had a very firm opinion on this and were willing to spend their hard earnt money to vote.

National Party drug testing Policy – for 17,100

Helen Kelly, NZCTU – against 1,900

This now leads me to the crux of the Observation – Helen Kelly via the NZCTU heads up an ACC partnership agreement in the work place worth millions of dollars to provide Health and Safety training – or something.

If the poll is extrapolated to the general working population – 90% disagree with Helen Kelly and the NZCTU understanding of the importance people put on drug testing in the workplace.

Has ACC got the right partners to deliver ACC Health and Safety programs when there is such a major disconnect? Personally I think the taxpayers of New Zealand have voted.  I did, I spent my 75 cents.

No it doesn’t

NZ Herald

The Herald editorial reckons the government needs to tread warily with drug testing beneficiaries…no it doesn’t, the vast majority of taxpayers who provide the taxes that allow beneficiaries to receive a handout want drug testing…yesterday.

The Herald advocates more hugs and cuddles…like that has worked so far:

 The minister’s approach may work for recreational drug users. Effectively, they are being asked to make a lifestyle choice. But dealing with people addicted to drugs is an entirely different matter.

There is little to suggest that the stick of benefit sanctions will prompt them to drastically amend their lives. Taking money away from them will make no difference because addicts will go to any length to obtain drugs. Indeed, in some cases, they are more likely to be lured into crime or prostitution to feed their addiction.

Sensibly, therefore, the Government plans to exempt drug and alcohol addicts from sanctions for refusing or failing a drug test. It has, however, hinted that such beneficiaries may be forced to get treatment for their addictions. Such a step should be resisted as the policy detail is finalised. In no other area of health is such an approach taken.

For those suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses, for example, collecting a benefit is not contingent on agreeing to treatment. Why, then, stigmatise addicts in this manner? Specialists in drug treatment are adamant that addicts should not, and cannot, be coerced into abstinence.

The recommended approach is to encourage users to enter treatment programmes that offer abundant counselling and support. But it is fair for the Government to insist that if people in work are expected to be drug-free and able to work, it is quite reasonable that non-addicts on benefits should be able to pass a drug test.

 

Good move

NZ Herald

Good to see the government taking a strong line on drugged up beneficiaries, no doubt John Pagani will disagree with me at 11am:

Beneficiaries who refuse or fail drug tests while applying for jobs will have their welfare cut from mid-2013 under the Government’s next round of welfare reforms.

The National-led Government says there are now no consequences for drug-takers who opted out of job applications when faced with a drug test.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett told the Herald the new Welfare Reform Bill would have new requirements for drug testing, but the finer details were still being finalised.

National’s pre-election policy document said beneficiaries who did not apply for a job because a prospective employer asked them to take a drug test would have their benefit cancelled.

If they took the drug test and failed it, they would also be sanctioned.