In recent weeks a large number of Fleet Service Clerks represented by TWU have been subjected to drug testing without any basis in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between TWU and American covering Fleet Service employees, or any basis in the Company Policy guidelines regarding drug testing. The CBA acknowledges that there may be drug testing in reasonable cause and post-accident situations, and it establishes testing procedures and recognizes certain employee rights when they are subjected to drug testing. But the recent tests have not been in reasonable cause or post-accident situations, they have allegedly been done in connection with American’s contract with the United States Postal Service. The Company Policy guidelines only provide for drug testing relating to reasonable cause, pre-employment, safety-sensitive requirements (DOT) and post-accident situations. The recent testing of Fleet Service Clerks does not fit any of those categories, and the Company Policy does not include customer demands as justification for drug testing of Fleet Service Clerks. The testing has also been done without any of the procedures and employee rights established under the CBA.
As the trickle of testing has increased to a flood in recent weeks, and as the testing has been required for employees who merely transfer or are promoted, we have expressed our concerns to the Company and requested an explanation of the authority the Company relies on in engaging in this conduct. We had been told that the testing is required by law, but with the scale of the testing now being done, we sought identification of the law that supposedly requires this testing. In response, we were provided with copies of USPS booklets for contractors and USPS forms to be completed by contractors. No law requiring airline Fleet Service Clerks to be subject to drug testing has been cited to us. While the USPS documents themselves refer to certain laws, those are laws that authorize or require the USPS to collect certain information from those who choose to contract with the USPS (our search revealed that 39 USC 3061 referenced on Form 2025 does not even exist). No law has been cited to us, and no law referenced in documents that have been provided to us, supports or requires drug testing of American Fleet Service Clerks. And it is not even clear that the forms and booklets provided to us apply to a contractor like American.
Basically, we have been told that a customer demands drug testing as a condition of its doing business with American, and that the customer it is making that demand as a result of law applicable to the customer. We have not been provided with any law that itself
imposes a drug testing requirement on American or its Fleet Service Clerks. But American cannot just ignore its CBA with TWU or impose requirements on TWU members not authorized by the CBA just because the Company is doing business with a customer who allegedly demands those requirements. While there apparently was some testing before this summer, the scale of testing as a result of the recent escalation reveals that this is a systemic action; and combined with absence of any contractual or legal support for Company’s actions, it is apparent that the Company is effectively unilaterally changing the parties’ agreement.
Furthermore, even if there was some basis in the CBA for drug testing of Fleet Service Clerks other than in reasonable cause or post-accident situations, the testing is being done in a manner that is completely inconsistent with the protections for, and rights of, employees under the CBA. It is also inconsistent with the Company Policy rules and procedures for drug testing. The Company certainly may not unilaterally impose a new drug testing scheme where employees who are tested for “cause” could have more rights than employees who have done nothing that would suggest a need for testing, under the guise of supposed need to comply with USPS requirements. That would be plainly unacceptable. In any event, performance of drug testing without regard for employee rights, Company obligations, and procedural requirements under the CBA is simply an attempted negation of the CBA.
While the Union is willing to discuss the matter with the Company, American cannot act unilaterally and with complete disregard for the CBA. TWU, therefore, calls on the Company to immediately cease this drug testing program and to refrain from such testing unless and until an agreement is reached.
Mike Mayes International Administrative Vice President Air Division Director Transport Workers Union of America