Updated: Feb 25, 2021
By Chadwick Dolgos
The Coraopolis Council approved a motion to eliminate random drug testing from the Public Works employee contract during their Feb. 10 regular meeting.
The borough was nearly in full agreement over the contract with Local 1058, the union that represents the Public Works department in Coraopolis, until the attorneys requested that random drug testing be removed from the policy.
“They are against random drug testing, so they modified the policy,” said Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon, who was asking the council to approve the modification in order to adopt the entire contract.
“John May was pretty happy that we were able to get as much in there as we did,” McCutcheon said. May serves as the public works manager for Coraopolis.
Vice Pres. Robb Cardimen opposed the motion. “I have a problem with this, personally,” he said. “Every place out there has random drug testing.”
McCutcheon explained that under the new language of the contract, May would have the ability to drug test if there’s suspicion. Councilman Rudy Bolea noted that drug testing will still occur if there is an accident on the job as well.
“Under contract, we can still do drug testing if there is suspicion of drug use or, if after an accident, we need to do this,” he said. “We cannot randomly just say today we’re going to do a drug test; that’s what they don’t want.”
The borough will now be tasked with working on a policy that identifies what constitutes “suspicious activity” and other reasons a supervisor may request a drug test from an employee.
“Is it appropriate to test someone because we smell pot in one of the vehicles?,” asked Councilman Chad Kraynyk.
“At what level would we consider suspicious, because that’s what’s going to be challenged at any arbitration.”
While Kraynyk agreed with Cardimen’s concerns, he explained that the best course of action is to approve the contract with the modified language and proceed with drafting language that identifies reasons to drug test.
The motion passed the council by a 5-3 vote. Cardimen, who voted “absolutely not,” was joined by councilmen Daniel LaRocco and Edward Pitassi.
“They’re dictating to this borough what they can and will not do,” said Cardimen. “Other communities have the same language in their contract, why is it so hard for Coraopolis?”