Thank you for the coverage that the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) Drug & Alcohol program received in the article "Unions Tackle the Costs of Drug Use" (ENR 9/27 p. 32). But there is a discrepancy. The IMPACT Drug & Alcohol program will not be a voluntary program; it will be mandatory.
After the article appeared, I received calls from union representatives and steel erection associations questioning why this article referred to a "volunteer" program. It is this feedback from the unions and associations that shows the growing concern and need for a mandatory drug and alcohol program in our industry.
Eric Waterman, CEO of IMPACT, formed a drug and alcohol task force and asked me to be a co-chair, along with Robert Banks of the Ironworkers District Council of New England. Our committee met continuously for over a year and a half looking at different union drug and alcohol policies already in force. We combined the best of them, and this resulted in a state of the art IMPACT drug and alcohol program.
The research and development of the IMPACT policy resulted in the current program we are now using at Cornell. Our company had its first random drug testing in June and the outcome was a 100% success. At Cornell, we chose to do random testing on a quarterly basis. As the end of the third quarter approached, we had two employees who were not on the last random testing list come forward and ask for help, admitting that they had a substance abuse problem and needed to go into a program. Both individuals are now enrolled in programs through our employee assistance program and getting the help that they need.
Certainly, you can see how a volunteer program would defeat the purpose.
Mandatory Drug Testing
October 18, 2004