If you put a pencil to the financial cost of that misguided decision to abuse drugs or alcohol, members cost themselves and their families thousands of dollars in missed work opportunities. Also, those working impaired can injure themselves, brother or sister members, or others. In the UBC, that is unacceptable.
Brotherhood members earn superior pay because we provide superior performance. Our contractors reasonably expect that when a UBC member comes on a job, he or she will be trained, motivated, and ready to work.
Showing up under the influence of drugs or alcohol shreds that compact and puts a nearly indelible stain on our Brotherhood. The industries we serve are insular. Everyone knows everyone else, and there is no such thing as an isolated incident.
Our union has worked hard to get owners and contractors to give us a second look. By overhauling our training and demonstrating our commitment to top-flight skills and can-do attitude, we have been able to win work in environments that had long been hostile to unions.
Developing a reputation as a union full of unreliable and unsafe workers would put that effort at risk.
Members who fail drug tests can face more than the humiliation and loss of pay that comes from being thrown off a job. They risk fines, suspension, or possible expulsion from the Brotherhood for creating dissension among members by putting them in danger, violating Section 51(a) of the UBC Constitution.
Bringing charges against fellow members reflects the seriousness with which the Brotherhood takes this issue. It is not something done lightly or with malice. In fact, in many cases, the process leads to members seeking professional help. Still, the best way to deal with a failed drug test is for it never to occur in the first place.
While drug testing might seem a nuisance, it is essential to ensure a safe and productive workplace. Think about it: Would you hire someone if you knew he or she was going to be under the influence at work?
Substance abusers are less productive and more likely to be late, absent, or involved in a workplace accident. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the construction industry has one of the highest rates of workplace drug and alcohol abuse, making a dangerous job even more dangerous.
Our members need to be leading the way in combating this problem. After all, it puts their lives and their livelihoods at risk.
“Our contractors reasonably expect that when a UBC member comes on a job, he or she will be trained, motivated, and ready to work.”
— UBC General Vice President Doug Banes