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Union Briefing: Many utilities have collective bargaining agreements with unions governing work rules, grievance procedures, and a wide range of personnel practices. The cornpany has a right to establish policies and rules for the safe and effective operation of its plants and equipment and for the reliable delivery of energy service. No employee has a civil right to violate the law. Company rules and regulations that promote safety and efficiency and that are administered fairly and without discrimination should be welcomed by unions and management employees alike. When implementing a new or revised company drug policy, briefing of union leadership is recommended. Such a briefing should involve the senior labor relations official
generally in contact with union leadership and should take place prior to communication ... .
of the company's drug policy to its employees and supervisors. The company should not enter this briefing in the spirit of negotiation. It is responsible for establishing rules and policies. It should enter the meeting in a spirit of cooperation and should enlist the interest and support of union leadership for an effective health and safety program that affects their membership. During the briefing, the company should stress its concern for all employees and their mutual interest in protecting the safety and jobs of the non-drug and non-alcohol abusers—the vast majority of union membership—whose positions and personal well being will be jeopardized by the actions of alcohol- and drug-impaired employees. Drug and alcohol impairment causes accidents, reduces productivity, an compromise plant and equipment, increases costs and thus prevents continued confidence on the part of the public. the regulators, the media. and consumers. . . The briefing can include an outside professional who would provide a perspective to the union on current steps other companies are taking with respect to drug and alcohol . . abuse. while providing an insight into the health and safety hazards of drugs and alcohol and the effects that such use off the job on have on on-the-job performance. The briefing should stress that the company does not intend to administer this policy in an arbitrary manner. and that all supervisors will be given thorough training on fitness-for-duty standards and their responsibility to be fair in the administration of any referrals with respect to job fitness. The company should stress that the policy will be applied to man
States, millions of dollars in equipment has been destroyed and billions of dollars of costs incurred due to alcohol and drug abuse by employees. If the company has an Employee Assistance Program, the labor relations official should point this out to the union. The union will be concerned that the drug program may be used by some supervisors to single out individual employees arbitrarily, and they will be
concerned that the company wants to challenge, without foundation, the continued proence of certain employees in the workplace. The thrust of the company's program is neither arbitrary nor individually directed, but is directed at the welfare of all employees, the welfare of groups of workers, as well as the welfare of each employee. Experience indicates that unions have not filed lawsuits or challenged new company policies on drug abuse until an individual instance has arisen in which the company may have demonstrated a deviation from the principles outlined tither in the policy or expressed in other company agreements. The courts have upheld the employer's right to protect the public from potential harm caused by the drug use of an employee on and of the job. Opinions from federal and state courts support this principle.
Contractor Motification: Purchase orders may or may not reference a need for a supplier or contractor to comply with certain company rules and policies. The EEI Task Force recommends that companies ensure that contractor employees abide by company rules on drugs and alcohol and that notification be given that this is a condition of access to the company's property and equipment. This policy should be communicated in writing to principal contractors and suppliers, either through reference in purchase orders or by letter from the contracting official. This is particularly important at construction sites and generating stations. where large murnbers of contractor employees are engaged over long "ime periods assisting in the maintenance and construction of company facilities and equipment. In addition, signs should be posted on gates, entrance areas, visitor and employee parking lots that spell out that drugs and alcoholic beverages are prohibited from company work locations and that individuals under their influence likewise will be denied access. If a company has established the right to search vehicles and employees without notice as a condition of entry onto company property, such notification should also be given at entrance and gatepost locations. Contractors at individual company locations should be advised that the position of the
company with respect to this work rule is based on the need for safe, efficient operation, reflects a need to conform with the law, and provides for the safety and protection of the public as well as all employees and workers. Companies are not expected to launch a drug education and awareness program for contractor employees, although some contractors may wish to embark upon this program themselves. Companies should expect that contractor employees will conform to company policies and that indications of variance with company rules will result in denial of access and possible law enforcement notification.
focus the company message at the actual drug or alcohol dependent - of the workforce. the message should be directed at the nondependent fellow employee whose health and safety and job are vitally affected by a co-worker's impairment from drugs or alcohol. Letting a co-worker sleep it of in the back of a van or in a quiet part of the plant puts more work on other employees, who will have to do their jobs and the impaired employee's job at the same time. Compromising quality, efficiency and safety. Looking the other way when an associate is drunk or high will not prevent a serious accident or operational error but coul! compromise the work team and the public. In health and safety meetings, during discussions with employees : *d supervisors and union representatives, the company's concern for all employees must be clear, and the health information should reach out, not for the suspected chemically dependent persons. but for their peers and for those ignorant and unfamiliar with these substances. Having employees realize that someone else's impairment can affect their safety and paycheck is essential. and specific references, case histories, and anecdotal information is readily available to document this all too often neglected fact.
Health And Safety Information: The company's drug policy and communication program