On 5/9/2019 the Youngstown Business Journal posted a video called, “Discussing Drugs in the Workplace.” The video featured, Ruth Bowdish from On Demand Drug Testing. She said that drug use has gone up so much that if affects safety in the workplace. She claimed that drug use has cost companies $81 billion in productivity, absenteeism and higher insurance rates.
I’ve also been hearing employers on talk radio in Youngstown, Akron, and Cleveland etc. saying they can’t find employees to pass drug tests. I wondered about the real numbers of people who are not passing drug tests. I had to look no further than an article in the Youngstown Business Journal from April 13, 2019. This article by Quest Diagnostics stated that the national average of workers who fail drug test is 4.4%. In the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys that rate is even lower at 2.55 to 3.5%. That small rate shows that these area employers calling talk radio are full of crap.
What about the claim that productivity has fallen because of workplace drug use? From 1973 to 2017, net productivity rose 77.0 percent, while the hourly pay of typical workers essentially stagnated—increasing only 12.4 percent over 44 years (after adjusting for inflation). This means that although Americans are working more productively than ever, the fruits of their labors have gone to corporate profits and those at the top.
How about that safety issue and drug testing that Ruth Bowdish talked about? That is the subject of the book, “Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use in the Workplace” by researcher Michael R. Frone Ph.D. He found that there is a lack of evidence that drug testing affects safety.
Are employers who call talk radio lying when they say they can’t get employees because job seekers can’t pass drug tests? I think the real problem is that these employers want someone to work for long hours with little benefits for next to nothing. If workers are really so hard to find why aren’t wages increasing? When will the laws of supply and demand kick in? Companies in Erie, Pa. have used the failed drug test B.S. to hire immigrants at way lower wages. Employers are just playing the victim card. It is much easier than actually examining why people don’t want to work for you.
Then we have politicians that lie about job seekers not passing drug tests. When Nikki Haley was governor of South Carolina she claimed half the applicants at a nuclear reservation in her state failed a drug test. When research on this was done it showed those failing the drug test was less than one percent. Politicians and employers trash the poor and unemployed because it makes it easier to look down on them. It’s time for the employers and politicians to stop the BS stories and reflect on their own failures to help lift all boats.
John McCutcheon: “I’m an Immigrant”
“I now have anti-bodies to assholes after working for so many.”