Union alleges TTC workers being forced to take oral drug tests containing animal products

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The union representing TTC workers alleges there are animal products in the oral drug-testing kits the transit agency is using, and argues that violates employee rights.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which has opposed random drug testing from the outset, announced Monday it plans to file a group grievance over the oral swab tests.

In a letter, the ATU says the TTC is "forcing" its members, "on threat of discipline," to undergo the tests which expose them to animal products or byproducts, despite employees' religious or moral objections.

"The TTC's actions constitute unreasonable exercises or management discretion, unjust discipline, discrimination and failure to accommodate employees' religion," the union said in a letter to the TTC.

The ATU says that violates both the Human Rights Code and the workers' collective agreement.

The TTC rolled out random drug testing last year, despite the ATU's objections.

TTC statistics show as of mid-April, 11 of 573 employees have tested positive for drugs — six for marijuana, four for cocaine and one for alcohol — in 2018. Last year, there were 30 positive drug tests.

According to the CEO's latest report, about two per cent of unionized employees refuse to comply with the random testing.

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross confirms the transit agency has been notified about this issue.