Moeller: Shame on Those Who Would Treat Jobless Workers as Suspected Drug Users
Feb. 17, 2012
Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller issued this comment in response to a Texas Association of Business news release calling for drug testing for unemployed workers:
“First of all, we’re delighted that federal unemployment benefits will continue at least through the rest of 2012. The foremost concern of the state labor federation is jobs with dignity for all Texans, and we see UI as an indispensable program in a now-improving economy for workers who are diligently seeking a transition to new jobs”
“We remain disturbed, however, that some politicians and interest groups want to attack the unemployment system by subjecting workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own to insulting and costly drug tests.”
“We continue to wait for legislative proposals to require CEOs who accept corporate welfare and promise jobs that they often don’t deliver to take drug tests. Come to think of it, we’re still waiting for heads of local Chambers of Commerce in Texas who were granted sweetheart exemptions from paying all property taxes on their expensive headquarters properties to take drug tests to prove they are ‘ready and available’ to use taxpayer money.”
“The Unemployment Insurance system should be about dignity, not punishment. Shame on those who think workers who have drawn low cards in a tough economy should be treated like suspected drug users.”
Here is the Texas Association of Business News Release:
Unemployment Extension Includes Limited Drug Testing
It’s a good step, now needs state legislative action
AUSTIN, TX— The following quotes may be attributed to Bill Hammond, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business, reacting to congressional passage of an extension of unemployment benefits that will give states a limited right to drug test people receiving unemployment benefits.
“The old saying goes, ‘you have to start somewhere,’ and that’s what we have,” said Texas Association of Business President and CEO Bill Hammond. “I am pleased that, at least in this limited way, Congress has given states the power to drug test people receiving unemployment benefits. People getting those benefits should be ready and available for work, and if they are using drugs and unable to pass a drug test, they are neither ready nor available.”
“I urge state lawmakers at the earliest possible time to take up this issue and pass a bill that will allow drug testing for unemployment recipients if the job they are applying for demands such testing.”
Note: The bill passed by Congress also allows for such testing if someone is dismissed from a job because they failed or refused a drug test. That would have limited impact on Texas since people dismissed for cause, like drug test failure, usually don’t qualify for unemployment benefits.
# # #
© AFL-CIO. All rights reserved.
Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the AFL-CIO.