In October 2014, District 142 and Alaska Airlines arbitrated grievances filed under the RSSA Agreement in relation to Alaska’s announcement of a new, Non-DOT Random Drug Testing Program. The grievances challenged Alaska’s assertion that they could, at will, modify and change any drug testing program that affects members under the RSSA agreement. Specifically, the Company was adding IAM members into the drug testing program that the DOT does not consider to work in “Safety Sensitive” positions.
The Board’s decision, unfortunately, upholds Alaska’s right to modify and create a non-DOT random drug testing program.
HOWEVER, while the Board supported Alaska’s position in the creation of a new drug testing program, the Board, too, supported the Union’s position that employment should be preserved should an IAM member fail a drug test under the new program. As such, the Board issued, as part of its decision, a Last Chance Agreement (LCA) in conjunction with the overall decision.
District 142 and Alaska Airlines had a pending arbitration case for the exact same non-DOT random drug testing program, though specific to the COPS Agreement. Both District 142 and Alaska Airlines assessed the case and agreed that the outcome of any arbitration before the Board would result in the same decision – upholding Alaska’s right to create a non-DOT random drug testing program while including a LCA to protect the employment of the membership. With this understanding, the Parties agreed to settle the impending arbitration by executing a Letter of Understanding (LOU) that applies the RSSA arbitration award and LCA to the COPS Agreement.
Alaska has not yet committed to when the new drug testing program will go into effect. However, they have committed to giving 60 days’ notice prior to the program going live.
The full arbitration award, LCA, and LOU will be sent to all Shop Stewards, Chief Shop Stewards, and Shop Committees of record.
We thank the membership for their continued support and patience while trying to resolve this matter.
Jeff Tobius Jackie Fay
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