John Carr Speaks to Drug Screening

By Robert Mark on August 8th, 2008

The post John Carr put up yesterday about the U.S. DOT’s proposed new guidelines for administering drug tests to some aviation employees would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn’t so sick. John posted comments from the general counsel for the PASS employees – airways systems technicians – that outline the new drug testing rules.drug test

If you’re returning to duty, or have tested positive in the past for whatever reason, employees will now be expected to offer a urine sample while the supervisor watches in order to guarantee authenticity. And did I tell you that all will be expected to remove their underclothes and bend over to prove they’re not hiding anything?

But it’s not really all that bad because, “After this is done, they may return their clothing to its proper position and contribute a specimen in such manner that the observer can see the urine exiting directly from the individual into the collection container, as required under current regulations.”

I guess this is a just a bit more of that warm fuzzy – mmm, no pun intended here, really – from DOT’s Mary Peters to the folks who are part of that wonderful team of transportation professionals she keeps talking about.

I’m supposed to believe that handling employees like this is fine according to Peters, right?

And the DOT logic that gave us this little procedure, is the same bunch of brains that Peters and her staff used to develop the slot sale program at Newark that just about everyone in aviation thinks is the dumbest idea ever conceived. Even the airlines don’t like Peters … and that’s really saying something.

Unless the procedure is axed, the new drug testing will take effect later this month. I can’t wait to see what NATCA will have to say about this one.

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5 Responses to “John Carr Speaks to Drug Screening”

  1. John J. Tormey III, Esq. Says:

    Thanks for the continued coverage Rob. Suggested responses already posted on The Main Bang are incorporated by reference herein. In short – Out the contractors making the misjudgment of doing the dirty work, as the sex offenders that they really are.

  2. debbie Says:

    When we switched to permanent days off a few years back I realized how “random” the drug screening is. They always come on the same day of the week. So if it is your day off, you never get tested and if you are working, you always get tested. So if someone did have a problem (and never in all my years with the FAA have I ever known someone) and they knew what days the drug testers came, they could pick days off when that would ensure they would never be tested.

  3. Paul Cox Says:

    Debbie’s right. I think a guy out here at ZSE actually grieved this and won; he showed that the “random” testing wasn’t, because they always went to the big facilities on the weekends and the only time they went to the little facilities was weekdays.

    The reason is simple- on the weekends, a large facility will have more people working. The contractor who does the sample collection (or, as we call him, the Pee Police) charges a base rate to go out to a facility plus a per-sample-collected charge.

    If the FAA sends him to Podunk Tower on a weekend where there’s two people on, they both get tested but the FAA pays a bunch per sample. If they send him to a big facility where there’s 45 people on, he gets 25 samples and it’s less on a per-sample charge.

    In any case… the new procedure makes sense IF someone is reasonbly suspected of tampering with their sample. If they aren’t, it’s an unreasonable invasion of privacy, in my opinion.

  4. Hold it right there Says:

    Ms. Peters – I ask that you lead by example then, and BEND OVER, TOO! You have stooped to an all-time new low.

  5. Dale Kettring Says:

    I’m really surprised that PASS seems to be the only organization putting out information, or raising an issue with this development.

    The way I read the information, this impacts all drug tested employees across the transportation industry. Anyone currently subject to drug/alcohol testing could have this applied to them if they have previously been in a drug/alcohol program. Not just federal employees.

    You might want to double check what I am seeing, but it would be worth your time to validate what I am seeing.

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