Pubdate: Wed, 20 Apr 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Shawn Jeffords
Page: 10


Union officials mull legal options to fight move

Dozens of TTC workers have failed or refused scheduled drug and
alcohol tests since 2014, prompting Toronto's transit agency bosses to
implement random screening.

But officials with the union representing workers say they don't
believe the numbers and are mulling legal options to fight the move.

TTC CEO Andy Byford said Tuesday that since 2014, 36 people have
failed or refused the impairment tests, calling those results
"unacceptable." The agency will move forward with random drug and
alcohol testing within the next few months, he said.

"How do we not strengthen our existing Fitness for Duty (policy) with
a proven deterrence of random testing?" he asked in a letter sent to
employees Monday.

Byford assured staff that their privacy will be respected and that
their off-duty lives aren't the TTC's business.

But their work is of concern, insisted Byford, who added, "your
safety, your coworkers' safety, the safety of our customers and all
road users is paramount."

Byford said he and his executive will also be subjected to the random

Since 2010, the agency has tested for drugs and alcohol after mishaps
involving its employees. But the TTC's entire Fitness for Duty policy
has been the subject of ongoing arbitration for years, slowing down
implementation of the drug policy, Byford said.

Because of that, the transit brass announced it would move ahead with
the policy Monday - a move that angered Amalgamated Transit Union
Local 113, which represents TTC drivers.

Union president Bob Kinnear accused Byford of ignoring the collective
agreement, which TTC management signed.

"We will be consulting with both our legal counsel and our members
over the coming days and weeks and we will figure out and solidify the
position that we're going to take," he said.

Kinnear also disputed the number of policy violators provided by
Byford. He said the TTC is counting employees who voluntarily come
forward to report substance abuse issues and off-duty impaired driving

"We really don't know where those numbers come from," he said. "I
don't believe those numbers."

The TTC has also asked the provincial government to consider making
random drug testing mandatory for public transit agencies.

At Queen's Park Tuesday morning, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said the
province would take the TTC's request "very, very seriously."
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