CIVILIAN PRISON EMPLOYEES DONT WANTTO BE DRUG TESTED-Andrew Stelzer07/06/06
In addition to their corruption problems, the Florida department of corrections is in a battle with some of their employees, who are resisting an attempt to make them accept random drug tests on the job. WMNFâ€™s Andrew Stelzer reports.
Earlier this summer, corrections Secretary Jim McDonough said he wanted to impose random drugs tests for all employees that work in the corrections system, but The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents civilian employees in the corrections system, says thatâ€™s a violation of their contract, and of the law. Alma Gonzalez is special counsel for Florida AFSCME
ACT-Gonzalez â€œUnder the law of the landâ€¦the gov cant invade your bodyâ€¦no good reason..they say we think itâ€™s a good idea..founding father says thatâ€™s not enough..â€?
Gonzalez says that the union has not met with Corrections secretary McDonough in a few weeks, but is he tries to implement a mandatory drug test policy for employees, the union will take legal action to prevent it. She says she is open to negotiating a drug testing policy, but the workers must be involved.
ACT â€œWe have had conversations, and they want everyone to be the same..compensation, first responder..â€?
The Police Benevolent Association represents many corrections employees, and the Florida Nurses Association represents the nurses that work in the prisons. Those groups have accepted drug testing, but Gonzalez points out that most of them had to undergo random testing anyway because of their job requirements. Gonzales says AFSCME is open to specific employees identified, along with an explanation of why they should be tested in relation to the safety needs of their jobs. She believes the departments past problems shouldnâ€™t result in unfair policies being imposed on current employees.
ACT â€œIâ€™m sorry that there were corrections officers taking steroidsâ€¦thatâ€™s not the case here..we donâ€™t have vocational ed instructors accused of taking steroidsâ€¦no contact with inmate population..â€?
Gonzalez points out that the civilian employees are already drug tested when they are first hired.
ACT â€œSo what were really talking aboutâ€¦â€?
The Florida department of corrections did not have anyone available to comment today.
For WMNF news, Iâ€™m Andrew Stelzer