SAN FRANCISCO — An arbitrator has ruled that a Boise Cascade Corp. employee drug-screening plan is in violation of union workers' contract rights. The ruling may affect other firms in the West Coast pulp and paper industry.
The decision, announced Monday by arbitrator Sam Cagel, directly affects Tacoma Local 180 of the Assn. of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, which challenged the company program.
But Portland labor attorney Don Willner, who successfully argued the union's case, said the ruling will affect the union's locals throughout the West Coast and the industry in general. The union represents about 18,000 members at mills in Washington, Oregon and California. Both union and company officials declined to comment on the arbitrator's decision.
The dispute arose last June after the company announced that it was going to implement a mandatory program in which a supervisor could require an employee to undergo a urine test for drugs or a breath test for alcohol if he had reason to suspect that the worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
During arbitration, Willner contended that under terms of the union contract, the company could only implement "reasonable" new rules or programs, and that the drug-screening program was "not a reasonable plan."