Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 2010
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2010 The Telegram
Author: James McLeod


Neither IOC nor the Steelworkers' Union are backing down when it 
comes to a new drug-testing policy announced in early December.

A spokesman for IOC says it's a vital step in the company's 
continuing safety efforts.

The president of the union says it's an unnecessary policy, and could 
further deteriorate an already-strained relationship between workers 
and management.

"We don't condone alcohol and drugs in the workplace, but we want to 
confirm that everything is done in a respectful manner, and right now 
things aren't done in that way," said George Kean, president of 
United Steelworkers Local 5795.

"A couple years ago there was a survey where we showed that IOC had 
the worst workplace of any that was ever surveyed because things are 
done by favoritism by team leaders."

But Michel Filion, spokesman for the mine, says drug testing will be 
implemented, starting with prospective employees who will be working 
in potentially dangerous jobs.

"We are in the continuous improvement process, and this is where we 
are with the HR," he said.

"What we heard from the last months or even the last year, the drug 
and alcohol is an issue in Labrador City and the community and 
employees are asking IOC to take measures."

Kean said he's received no such complaints from members, and he would 
expect them to come to the union before going to the company with concerns.

The union doesn't have any problem with the company testing new 
hires; its real concern is with the option for the company to perform 
drug testing on workers in the event of an accident, or if team 
leaders suspect they're on drugs.

"If there is an accident or an incident or behaviour that would let a 
manager think that it would appropriate," Filion said.

On this point, the union has filed a grievance with the company, and 
it will go to arbitration at the beginning of February.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart